The epithelial Na channel (ENaC) forms a pathway for Na+ absorption in the kidney, lung, and other epithelia. In order to maintain Na+ homeostasis and control blood pressure, ENaC is tightly regulated to respond to conditions of Na+/volume depletion and Na/volume excess. However, defects in this regulation are responsible for nearly all of the known inherited forms of hypertension, and contribute to the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis. Thus, our long term objective is to understand the mechanisms that regulate ENaC as a prerequisite for the development of targeted treatments for these diseases. A recent convergence of discoveries has focused attention on mechanisms that regulate ENaC gating. In the biosynthetic pathway and at the cell surface, proteases cleave the extracellular domains of ? and ?ENaC, converting inactive channels into their active Na+-conducting form. Moreover, Na+ regulates ENaC gating through extracellular (Na+ self-inhibition) and intracellular (Na+ feedback inhibition) mechanisms to maintain homeostasis. Other extracellular molecules also regulate ENaC activity. However, there are critical gaps in our knowledge about the molecular mechanisms and channel structures that underlie this regulation. A critical advance is the very recent solution of the crystal structure of a closely related channel, ASIC1. This has provided an unprecedented look at the structures that may underlie the regulation of gating of the DEG/ENaC ion channel family. Taking advantage of these advances in the understanding of ENaC gating and the ASIC1 crystal structure, the overall goal of this proposal is to understand structure-function relationships that regulate ENaC gating. We propose three Specific Aims. 1. In preliminary studies, we discovered that intracellular Na+ regulates ENaC by altering proteolytic cleavage of ? and ?ENaC. In this aim, we will test the hypothesis that Na+ alters cleavage by inducing a conformational change in the ENaC extracellular domain. We will also identify the ENaC sequences are required. 2. ENaC is exposed to extremes of pH in the kidney and lung. In preliminary studies, we found that ENaC activity is regulated by extracellular pH. In this aim, we will investigate the molecular mechanisms and identify the ENaC sequences that are required for pH to regulate ENaC. 3. ENaC is also exposed to significant changes in Cl- concentration. Our preliminary work indicates that Cl- modulates ENaC current and is required for Na+ self-inhibition, a mechanism by which extracellular Na+ regulates ENaC. In this aim, our goal is to understand the mechanism(s) by which Cl- alters ENaC current, and to identify residues in the extracellular domains that mediate this effect. By using innovative approaches and by testing novel hypotheses, this work will provide a new understanding of mechanisms that regulate ENaC gating, and hence, epithelial Na transport and Na homeostasis.

Public Health Relevance

Defects in the regulation of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) cause diseases including hypertension and cystic fibrosis. The overall goal of this proposal is to investigate the mechanisms that control the activity of ENaC. This will provide a new understanding of the pathogenesis of these diseases which will facilitate development of more effective treatments.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Cellular and Molecular Biology of the Kidney Study Section (CMBK)
Program Officer
OH, Youngsuk
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Iowa
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Iowa City
United States
Zip Code
Butler, Phillip L; Staruschenko, Alexander; Snyder, Peter M (2015) Acetylation stimulates the epithelial sodium channel by reducing its ubiquitination and degradation. J Biol Chem 290:12497-503
Collier, Daniel M; Tomkovicz, Vivian R; Peterson, Zerubbabel J et al. (2014) Intersubunit conformational changes mediate epithelial sodium channel gating. J Gen Physiol 144:337-48
Zhou, Ruifeng; Tomkovicz, Vivian R; Butler, Phillip L et al. (2013) Ubiquitin-specific peptidase 8 (USP8) regulates endosomal trafficking of the epithelial Na+ channel. J Biol Chem 288:5389-97
Snyder, Peter M (2012) Intoxicated Na(+) channels. Focus on ""ethanol stimulates epithelial sodium channels by elevating reactive oxygen species"". Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 303:C1125-6
Jing, Lan; Chu, Xiang-Ping; Jiang, Yu-Qing et al. (2012) N-glycosylation of acid-sensing ion channel 1a regulates its trafficking and acidosis-induced spine remodeling. J Neurosci 32:4080-91
Collier, Daniel M; Snyder, Peter M (2011) Identification of epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) intersubunit Cl- inhibitory residues suggests a trimeric alpha gamma beta channel architecture. J Biol Chem 286:6027-32
Wiemuth, Dominik; Lott, J Shaun; Ly, Kevin et al. (2010) Interaction of serum- and glucocorticoid regulated kinase 1 (SGK1) with the WW-domains of Nedd4-2 is required for epithelial sodium channel regulation. PLoS One 5:e12163
Collier, Daniel M; Snyder, Peter M (2009) Extracellular chloride regulates the epithelial sodium channel. J Biol Chem 284:29320-5
Yang, Tao; Gurrola 2nd, Jose G; Wu, Hao et al. (2009) Mutations of KCNJ10 together with mutations of SLC26A4 cause digenic nonsyndromic hearing loss associated with enlarged vestibular aqueduct syndrome. Am J Hum Genet 84:651-7
Zha, Xiang-ming; Wang, Runping; Collier, Dan M et al. (2009) Oxidant regulated inter-subunit disulfide bond formation between ASIC1a subunits. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106:3573-8

Showing the most recent 10 out of 14 publications