The role of insulin in controlling sodium (Na+) reabsorption in the kidney is of particular clinical importance due to its relevance to hypertension associated with the metabolic (insulin resistance) syndrome. Hyperinsulinemia can lead to inappropriate renal Na+ handling, resulting in hypertension. A major site of insulin's action is on the epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) found in the aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron. Insulin, through the phosphatidylinositide 3'-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway, activates serum and glucocorticoid regulated kinase 1 (SGK1), which plays a key role in stimulating ENaC accumulation at the apical membrane of the principal cell. SGK1 appears to have a novel lipid interaction motif (PXL domain) that may participate in SGK1 activation by insulin. The broad objective of this proposal is to elucidate the mechanistic basis of how SGK1 is activated by the insulin-PI3K signaling pathway.
The aims are the following: (1) Identify which phosphoinositides are functionally important for SGKI's ability to stimulate ENaC transport;(2) Evaluate whether the PXL domain is required for SGK1 activation;(3) Determine whether the PXL domain regulates SGK1 activation through membrane targeting. The elucidation of these pathways will likely identify novel avenues of treatment for this form of hypertension, which will undoubtedly become more prevalent with the rising obesity epidemic in our country. In addition to the proposed experiments, didactic coursework in biochemistry, cell biology, and the responsible conduct of research will complement a structured research training program to assist the candidate in achieving his long term goal for an academic career as a physician-scientist in nephrology. Dr. David Pearce, who is a leader in the field of hormone regulation of ion transport, will mentor the candidate's scientific development. Moreover, Dr. Stephen Gluck, a highly respected expert in cellular physiology of ion transporters, and Dr. Keith Mostov, and internationally recognized expert in epithelial cell trafficking, will provide scientific expertise in the design of experiments and interpretation of results. A professional development advisory committee will also convene at regular intervals to provide scientific and career support. UCSF offers the scientific expertise and the technical resources to provide an ideal environment for preparing this candidate for a successful career as a physician-scientist.
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