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Research Article

Mechanisms of Regulation of Epithelial Sodium Channel by SGK1 in A6 Cells


The serum and glucocorticoid induced kinase 1 (SGK1) participates in the regulation of sodium reabsorption in the distal segment of the renal tubule, where it may modify the function of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). The molecular mechanism underlying SGK1 regulation of ENaC in renal epithelial cells remains controversial. We have addressed this issue in an A6 renal epithelial cell line that expresses SGK1 under the control of a tetracycline-inducible system. Expression of a constitutively active mutant of SGK1 (SGK1TS425D) induced a sixfold increase in amiloride-sensitive short-circuit current (Isc). Using noise analysis we demonstrate that SGK1 effect on Isc is due to a fourfold increase in the number of functional ENaCs in the membrane and a 43% increase in channel open probability. Impedance analysis indicated that SGK1TS425D increased the absolute value of cell equivalent capacitance by an average of 13.7%. SGK1TS425D also produced a 1.6–1.9-fold increase in total and plasma membrane subunit abundance, without changing the half-life of channels in the membrane. We conclude that in contrast to aldosterone, where stimulation of transport can be explained simply by an increase in channel synthesis, SGK1 effects are more complex and involve at least three actions: (1) increase of ENaC open probability; (2) increase of subunit abundance within apical membranes and intracellular compartments; and (3) activation of one or more pools of preexistent channels within the apical membranes and/or intracellular compartments.