Identification of a highly conserved sequence at the N-terminus of the epithelial Na+ channel alpha subunit involved in gating

Pflugers Arch. 1999 Oct;438(5):709-15. doi: 10.1007/s004249900119.


The epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) is responsible for Na+ reabsorption in aldosterone target tissues such as distal nephron and colon. ENaC is a heterotetramer composed of three homologous subunits, alpha, beta, and gammaENaC. Mutations leading to loss of function or reduced channel activity have been identified in all three subunits in patients with pseudohypoaldosteronism type-1. One missense mutation substituting a glycine (G95S) which is completely conserved throughout the gene family reduced ENaC open probability, Po. In this study we have performed systematic alanine substitutions of 28 residues of alphaENaC encompassing the glycine (G95). This screen identified a stretch of ten consecutive amino acids (alphaT92-alphaC101) which, when mutated, lead to a decrease in Na+ current (I(Na)) expressed with no significant changes in channel surface expression. This inhibitory effect was strongest for G95 and for two additional highly conserved amino acids--H94 and R98. The R98A mutant led to an important reduction in channel Po with no change in single-channel conductance, indicating that the segment encompassing H94, G95 and R98 is involved in modulation of channel gating kinetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alanine
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Conserved Sequence*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Epithelium / chemistry
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Glycine
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Point Mutation
  • Rats
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sodium Channels / chemistry*
  • Sodium Channels / genetics
  • Sodium Channels / physiology*
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Sodium Channels
  • Alanine
  • Glycine