The Lectin-like Domain of TNF Increases ENaC Open Probability through a Novel Site at the Interface between the Second Transmembrane and C-terminal Domains of the α-Subunit

J Biol Chem. 2016 Nov 4;291(45):23440-23451. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M116.718163. Epub 2016 Sep 19.


Regulation of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), which regulates fluid homeostasis and blood pressure, is complex and remains incompletely understood. The TIP peptide, a mimic of the lectin-like domain of TNF, activates ENaC by binding to glycosylated residues in the extracellular loop of ENaC-α, as well as to a hitherto uncharacterized internal site. Molecular docking studies suggested three residues, Val567, Glu568, and Glu571, located at the interface between the second transmembrane and C-terminal domains of ENaC-α, as a critical site for binding of the TIP peptide. We generated Ala replacement mutants in this region of ENaC-α and examined its interaction with TIP peptide (3M, V567A/E568A/E571A; 2M, V567A/E568A; and 1M, E571A). 3M and 2M ENaC-α, but not 1M ENaC-α, displayed significantly reduced binding capacity to TIP peptide and to TNF. When overexpressed in H441 cells, 3M mutant ENaC-α formed functional channels with similar gating and density characteristics as the WT subunit and efficiently associated with the β and γ subunits in the plasma membrane. We subsequently assayed for increased open probability time and membrane expression, both of which define ENaC activity, following addition of TIP peptide. TIP peptide increased open probability time in H441 cells overexpressing wild type and 1M ENaC-α channels, but not 3M or 2M ENaC-α channels. On the other hand, TIP peptide-mediated reduction in ENaC ubiquitination was similar in cells overexpressing either WT or 3M ENaC-α subunits. In summary, this study has identified a novel site in ENaC-α that is crucial for activation of the open probability of the channel, but not membrane expression, by the lectin-like domain of TNF.

Keywords: Streptococcus; epithelial sodium channel (ENaC); peptides; tumor necrosis factor (TNF); ubiquitylation (ubiquitination).

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Epithelial Sodium Channel Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Epithelial Sodium Channels / chemistry
  • Epithelial Sodium Channels / genetics
  • Epithelial Sodium Channels / metabolism*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Peptides, Cyclic / pharmacology*
  • Point Mutation
  • Protein Domains / drug effects
  • Protein Subunits / chemistry
  • Protein Subunits / genetics
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • Ubiquitination / drug effects


  • Epithelial Sodium Channel Agonists
  • Epithelial Sodium Channels
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Protein Subunits
  • AP301 peptide