Regular Article

Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 299, Issue 3, pp 327-334

First online:

Epithelial Na+ channels and stomatin are expressed in rat trigeminal mechanosensory neurons

  • B. FrickeAffiliated withDepartment of Neuroanatomy, Institute of Anatomy MA6/152, Ruhr University, Universitätsstrasse 150, D-44801 Bochum, Germany
  • , R. LintsAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 604 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA
  • , G. StewartAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, University College London School of Medicine, Rayne Institute, 5 University Street, London, UK
  • , H. DrummondAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
  • , G. DodtAffiliated withInstitute of Physiological Chemistry, Ruhr University, Universitätsstrasse 150, D-44801 Bochum, Germany
  • , M. DriscollAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 604 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA
  • , M. von DüringAffiliated withDepartment of Neuroanatomy, Institute of Anatomy MA6/152, Ruhr University, Universitätsstrasse 150, D-44801 Bochum, Germany

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Abstract.

Caenorhabditis elegans MEC-4 and MEC-10 are subunits of the degenerin/epithelial Na+ channel (DEG/ENaC) ion channel superfamily thought to be associated with MEC-2 (a stomatin-like protein) in a mechanotransducing molecular complex in specialized touch sensory neurons. A key question is whether analogous molecular complexes in higher organisms transduce mechanical signals. To address this question, we selected mechanoreceptors of the rat vibrissal follicle-sinus complex in the mystacial pad and the trigeminal ganglia for an immunocytochemical and molecular biological study. RT-PCR of poly(A+) mRNA of rat trigeminal ganglia indicated that α-, β-, and γ-ENaC and stomatin mRNA are expressed in rat trigeminal ganglia. Using immunocytochemistry, we found that α-, β-, and γ-ENaC subunits and stomatin are localized in the perikarya of the trigeminal neurons and in a minor fraction of their termination site in the vibrissal follicle-sinus complex, where longitudinal lanceolate endings are immunopositive. We conclude that α-, β-, and γ-ENaC subunits as well as the candidate interacting protein stomatin are coexpressed in a mammalian mechanoreceptor, a location consistent with a possible role in mechanotransduction.

Epithelial sodium channel Stomatin Mechanotransduction Trigeminal somatosensory nervous system Vibrissae Ion channels Immunocytochemistry Rat (Wistar)