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American journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology

Regulation of epithelial sodium channels in urokinase plasminogen activator deficiency.


PMID 25172911

Abstract

Epithelial sodium channels (ENaC) govern transepithelial salt and fluid homeostasis. ENaC contributes to polarization, apoptosis, epithelial-mesenchymal transformation, etc. Fibrinolytic proteases play a crucial role in virtually all of these processes and are elaborated by the airway epithelium. We hypothesized that urokinase-like plasminogen activator (uPA) regulates ENaC function in airway epithelial cells and tested that possibility in primary murine tracheal epithelial cells (MTE). Both basal and cAMP-activated Na(+) flow through ENaC were significantly reduced in monolayers of uPA-deficient cells. The reduction in ENaC activity was further confirmed in basolateral membrane-permeabilized cells. A decrease in the Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase activity in the basolateral membrane could contribute to the attenuation of ENaC function in intact monolayer cells. Dysfunctional fluid resolution was seen in uPA-disrupted cells. Administration of uPA and plasmin partially restores ENaC activity and fluid reabsorption by MTEs. ERK1/2, but not Akt, phosphorylation was observed in the cells and lungs of uPA-deficient mice. On the other hand, cleavage of γ ENaC is significantly depressed in the lungs of uPA knockout mice vs. those of wild-type controls. Expression of caspase 8, however, did not differ between wild-type and uPA(-/-) mice. In addition, uPA deficiency did not alter transepithelial resistance. Taken together, the mechanisms for the regulation of ENaC by uPA in MTEs include augmentation of Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase, proteolysis, and restriction of ERK1/2 phosphorylation. We demonstrate for the first time that ENaC may serve as a downstream signaling target by which uPA controls the biophysical profiles of airway fluid and epithelial function.

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