The rat amiloride-sensitive epithelial Na(+) channel (rENaC), the rate-limiting step in epithelial Na(+) transport, consists of three subunits, alpha, beta, and gamma. We hypothesized that alpha-rENaC translation is regulated via its 5'-untranslated region (UTR). Transient transfections of alpha-rENaC promoter-reporter constructs in representative epithelial cell lines demonstrated up to fivefold differences in activity among constructs containing different amounts of the alpha-rENaC 5'-UTR sequence. Differences in reporter protein activity did not parallel differences in reporter mRNA, demonstrating that 5'-UTR regulation must be at the level of translation. Specifically, translation was enhanced by a region extending from +53 to +211 bp downstream from the transcription start site and repressed by the region between +367 and +499 bp. Examination of the 5'-UTR sequence revealed an out-of-frame initiation codon within the repressive region, 43 bp upstream from the start of the alpha-rENaC open reading frame. Mutational analysis of this upstream start codon indicated that it plays, at most, a minor role in impeding translation both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that additional mechanisms of translational regulation are operative.
View details for Web of Science ID 000171502700022
View details for PubMedID 11597914