NFAT5 up-regulates expression of the kidney-specific ubiquitin ligase gene Rnf183 under hypertonic conditions in inner-medullary collecting duct cells [Signal Transduction] (Journal of Biological Chemistry)
We previously reported that among the 37 RING finger protein (RNF) family members, RNF183 mRNA is specifically expressed in the kidney under normal conditions. However, the mechanism supporting its kidney-specific expression pattern remains unclear. In this study, we elucidated the mechanism of the transcriptional activation of murine Rnf183 in inner-medullary collecting duct cells. Experiments with anti-RNF183 antibody revealed that RNF183 is predominantly expressed in the renal medulla. Among the 37 RNF family members, Rnf183 mRNA expression was specifically increased in hypertonic conditions, a hallmark of the renal medulla. RNF183 up-regulation was consistent with the activation of nuclear factor of activated T cells 5 (NFAT5), a transcription factor essential for adaptation to hypertonic conditions. Accordingly, siRNA-mediated knockdown of NFAT5 down-regulated RNF183 expression. Furthermore, the -3,466 to -3,136-bp region upstream of the mouse Rnf183 promoter containing the NFAT5-binding motif is conserved among mammals. A luciferase-based reporter vector containing the NFAT5-binding site was activated in response to hypertonic stress, but was inhibited by a mutation at the NFAT5-binding site. ChIP assays revealed that the binding of NFAT5 to this DNA site is enhanced by hypertonic stress. Of note, siRNA-mediated RNF183 knockdown increased hypertonicity-induced caspase-3 activation and decreased viability of mIMCD-3 cells. These results indicate that (i) RNF183 is predominantly expressed in the normal renal medulla, (ii) NFAT5 stimulates transcriptional activation of Rnf183 by binding to its cognate binding motif in the Rnf183 promoter, and (iii) RNF183 protects renal medullary cells from hypertonicity-induced apoptosis.