Acute regulation of mUT-A3 urea transporter expressed in a MDCK cell line

Gavin S. Stewart, Sarah L. King, Elizabeth A. Potter, Craig P. Smith

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    Renal facilitative urea transporters play a vital role in the urinary concentrating mechanism. UT-A3 is a phloretin-sensitive urea transporter that in the mouse is expressed on the basolateral membrane of renal inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD) cells. In this study, we engineered a Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) I cell line that stably expresses mouse UT-A3 (MDCK-mUT-A3). Immunoblotting using the UT-A-targeted antibody ML446 detected a ∼40-kDa signal in MDCK-mUT-A3 protein that corresponds to mUT-A3. Using cultured epithelial monolayers, radioactive 14C-urea flux experiments determined that basolateral urea transport was no different between MDCK-mUT-A3 and control MDCK-FLZ cells under basal conditions [not significant (NS), ANOVA]. However, exposure to arginine vasopressin (AVP) significantly stimulated basolateral urea flux in MDCK-mUT-A3 monolayers (P <0.05, ANOVA), while it had no effect in control MDCK-FLZ monolayers (NS, ANOVA). The AVPstimulated basolateral urea transport in MDCK-mUT-A3 was inhibited by 1,3 dimethyl urea (P <0.05, ANOVA) or phloretin (P <0.05, ANOVA), both known inhibitors of facilitative urea transporters. MDCK-mUT-A3 basolateral urea flux was also stimulated by increasing intracellular levels of cAMP, via forskolin (P <0.05, ANOVA), or intracellular calcium, via ATP (P <0.05, ANOVA). Finally, 1-h preincubation with a specific PKA inhibitor, H89, significantly inhibited the increase in urea transport produced by AVP (P <0.05, ANOVA). In conclusion, we have produced the first renal cell line to stably express the mUT-A3 urea transporter. Our results indicate that mUT-A3 is acutely regulated by AVP, via a PKA-dependent pathway. These findings have important implications for the regulation of urea transport in the renal IMCD and the urinary concentrating mechanism. Copyright © 2007 the American Physiological Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)F1157-F1163
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology: Renal Physiology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


    • Arginine vasopressin
    • cAMP
    • Intracellular calcium
    • Protein kinase A
    • Urine concentration


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