Aldosterone alters the chromatin structure of the murine endothelin-1 gene

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Aldosterone increases sodium reabsorption in the renal collecting duct and systemic blood pressure. Paradoxically, aldosterone also induces transcription of the endothelin-1 (Edn1) gene to increase protein (ET-1) levels, which inhibits sodium reabsorption.


Here we investigated changes in the chromatin structure of the Edn1 gene of collecting duct cell lines in response to aldosterone treatment. The Edn1 gene has a CpG island that encompasses the transcription start site and four sites in the 5′ regulatory region previously linked to transcriptional regulation.

Materials and methods:

The chromatin structure of the Edn1 gene was investigated using a quantitative PCR-based DNaseI hypersensitivity assay in murine hepatocyte (AML12), renal cortical collecting duct (mpkCCDC14), outer medullary collecting duct1 (OMCD1), and inner medullary collecting duct-3 (IMCD-3) cell lines.

Key findings:

The CpG island was uniformly accessible. One calcium-responsive NFAT element remained at low chromatin accessibility in all cell lines under all conditions tested. However, the second calcium responsive NFAT element located at − 1563 bp upstream became markedly more accessible in IMCD-3 cells exposed to aldosterone. Importantly, one established aldosterone hormone response element HRE at − 671 bp relative to the transcription start site was highly accessible, and another HRE (− 551 bp) became more accessible in aldosterone-treated IMCD-3 and OMCD1 cells.


The evidence supports a model in which aldosterone activation of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) results in the MR-hormone complex binding at HRE at − 671 bp to open chromatin structure around other regulatory elements in the Edn1 gene.

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