Variable imprinting of the heterotrimeric G protein G(s) alpha-subunit within different segments of the nephron

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2000 Apr;278(4):F507-14. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.2000.278.4.F507.


The heterotrimeric G protein G(s) is required for hormone-stimulated intracellular cAMP generation because it couples hormone receptors to the enzyme adenylyl cyclase. Hormones that activate G(s) in the kidney include parathyroid hormone, glucagon, calcitonin, and vasopressin. Recently, it has been demonstrated that the G(s)alpha gene is imprinted in a tissue-specific manner, leading to preferential expression of G(s)alpha from the maternal allele in some tissues. In the kidney, G(s)alpha is imprinted in the proximal tubule but not in more distal nephron segments, such as the thick ascending limb or collecting duct. This most likely explains why in both humans and mice heterozygous mutations in the maternal allele lead to parathyroid hormone resistance in the proximal tubule whereas mutations in the paternal allele do not. In contrast, heterozygous mutations have little effect on vasopressin action in the collecting ducts. In mice with heterozygous null G(s)alpha mutations (both those with mutations on the maternal or paternal allele), expression of the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter was decreased in the thick ascending limb, suggesting that its expression is regulated by cAMP. The G(s)alpha genes also generate alternative, oppositely imprinted transcripts encoding XLalphas, a G(s)alpha isoform with a long NH(2)-terminal extension, and NESP55, a chromogranin-like neurosecretory protein. The role, if any, of these proteins in renal physiology is unknown.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromogranins
  • Fibrous Dysplasia, Polyostotic / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gs / chemistry
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gs / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Genomic Imprinting*
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Nephrons / physiology*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Chromogranins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • GNAS protein, human
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gs
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins