Guanylin (GN) and uroguanylin (UGN) are two recently identified peptides that have been shown to affect water and electrolyte transport in both the intestine and the kidney. Mechanistically, the effects of both peptides are thought to be mediated by intracellular cGMP which results from ligand binding to a plasma membrane guanylyl cyclase-C (GC-C) receptor. To date, the specific intrarenal site(s) of GN and UGN action have not been established. To begin to address this issue, the present studies utilized semi-quantitative RT-PCR to assess the distribution of GC-C mRNA in specific microdissected segments of the rat nephron. GC-C mRNA expression was highest in the cortical collecting tubule, followed by the proximal convoluted tubule, medullary thick ascending limb and collecting tubule, and thin limbs of Henle's loop. Expression levels were significantly lower in all other segments tested, including the glomerulus. The renal tubular expression pattern for cGMP-dependent protein kinase II (cGK-II) mRNA, which is activated in response to GN/UGN-dependent cGMP accumulation, was similar to that for GC-C. Notably, both GN and UGN mRNAs were also expressed along the nephron. The highest levels of expression for both peptides were detected in the medullary collecting tubule. Lower, but comparable levels of GN and UGN expression also occurred in the cortical collecting tubule, cortical and medullary thick ascending limb, and thin limbs of Henles loop. In the proximal convoluted tubule, GN mRNA expression was also quite high, while UGN mRNA was almost undetectable. The presence of renal GC-C and cGK-II in the kidney are consistent with a proposed endocrine function for GN and UGN. In addition however, the present data suggest that intrarenally synthesized GN and UGN may also contribute to the regulation of renal tubular transport. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
- cGMP-dependent protein kinase II