The Na,K-ATPase classically serves as an ion pump creating an electrochemical gradient across the plasma membrane that is essential for transepithelial transport, nutrient uptake and membrane potential. In addition, Na,K-ATPase also functions as a receptor, a signal transducer and a cell adhesion molecule. With such diverse roles, it is understandable that the Na,K-ATPase subunits, the catalytic α-subunit, the β-subunit and the FXYD proteins, are controlled extensively during development and to accommodate physiological needs. The spatial and temporal expression of Na,K-ATPase is partially regulated at the transcriptional level. Numerous transcription factors, hormones, growth factors, lipids, and extracellular stimuli modulate the transcription of the Na,K-ATPase subunits. Moreover, epigenetic mechanisms also contribute to the regulation of Na,K-ATPase expression. With the ever growing knowledge about diseases associated with the malfunction of Na,K-ATPase, this review aims at summarizing the best-characterized transcription regulators that modulate Na,K-ATPase subunit levels. As abnormal expression of Na,K-ATPase subunits has been observed in many carcinoma, we will also discuss transcription factors that are associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition, a crucial step in the progression of many tumors to malignant disease.
Keywords: Na,K-ATPase α-subunit; Na,K-ATPase β-subunit; cancer; epigenetics; promoter analysis; transcription.