PloS one

Multiple mineralocorticoid response elements localized in different introns regulate intermediate conductance K+ (Kcnn4) channel expression in the rat distal colon.

PMID 24901797


An elevated plasma aldosterone and an increased expression of the intermediate conductance K(+) (IK/Kcnn4) channels are linked in colon. This observation suggests that the expression of Kcnn4 gene is controlled through the action of aldosterone on its cognate receptor (i.e., mineralocorticoid receptor; MR). In order to establish this, we performed chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay to identify the MR response elements (MREs) in a region that spanned 20 kb upstream and 10 kb downstream of the presumed transcription start site (TSS) using chromatin from the colonic epithelial cells of normal and aldosterone-treated rats. MREs were immunoprecipitated in an approximately 5 kb region that spanned the first and second introns in the aldosterone rats. These regions were individually cloned in luciferase-expression vector lacking enhancer activity. These clones were tested for enhancer activity in vitro by transfecting in HEK293T and CaCo2 cells with MR and aldosterone treatment. At least four regions were found to be responsive to the MR and aldosterone. Two regions were identified to contain MREs using bioinformatics tools. These clones lost their enhancer activity after mutation of the presumptive MREs, and thus, established the functionality of the MREs. The third and fourth clones did not contain any bioinformatically obvious MREs. Further, they lost their activity upon additional sub-cloning, which suggest cooperativity between the regions that were separated upon sub-cloning. These results demonstrate the presence of intronic MREs in Kcnn4 and suggest a highly cooperative interaction between multiple intronic response elements.