ROMK inwardly rectifying ATP-sensitive K+ channel. I. Expression in rat distal nephron segments

W S Lee, S C Hebert
American Journal of Physiology 1995, 268 (6 Pt 2): F1124-31
The inwardly rectifying, ATP-sensitive K+ channel (ROMK) was localized by in situ hybridization in the rat kidney. Tissue in situ hybridization revealed that transcripts encoding the ROMK channel were expressed predominantly in cortical and outer medullary nephron segments. The localization of ROMK mRNA to specific nephron segments was assessed by hybridization of isolated nephron segments with an ROMK-specific probe (single segment in situ hybridization). ROMK mRNA was present in cortical and medullary thick ascending limb, distal tubule, and cortical and outer medullary collecting ducts, but not in proximal tubule. A weak hybridization was observed with inner medullary collecting ducts. To confirm these results, serial cryosections were alternatively stained by hybridization histochemistry for ROMK mRNA or by immunocytochemistry using antibodies specific for S1, S2, or S3 proximal tubular segments. Tubular cells that displayed immunoreactivity with the proximal tubular segment-specific antibodies showed little, if any, ROMK message. In addition, using an in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry double-labeling technique, ROMK transcripts and vitamin D-dependent calcium-binding protein were shown to colocalize to the distal tubule (distal convoluted tubule and connecting tubule). The overall nephron localization of ROMK mRNA shown in these studies is consistent with the possibility that this novel channel may represent the low-conductance ATP-sensitive K+ channel that has been identified in apical membranes of thick limb and collecting duct segments and is believed to participate in K+ secretion.

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