30 YEARS OF THE MINERALOCORTICOID RECEPTOR: Mineralocorticoid receptor and NaCl transport mechanisms in the renal distal nephron

    1. Shigeru Shibata1,2
    1. 1Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
    2. 2Division of Clinical Epigenetics, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to S Shibata; Email: shigeru.shibata{at}med.teikyo-u.ac.jp


    A key role of aldosterone and mineralocorticoid receptor is to regulate fluid volume and K+ homeostasis in the body by acting on the renal distal nephron. Global responses of the kidney to elevated aldosterone levels are determined by the coordinate action of different constituent tubule cells, including principal cells, intercalated cells and distal convoluted tubule cells. Recent studies on genetic mutations causing aldosterone overproduction have identified the molecules involved in aldosterone biosynthesis in the adrenal gland, and there is also increasing evidence for mechanisms and signaling pathways regulating the balance between renal NaCl reabsorption and K+ secretion, the two major effects of aldosterone. In particular, recent studies have demonstrated that mineralocorticoid receptor in intercalated cells is selectively regulated by phosphorylation, which prevents ligand binding and activation. Moreover, the ubiquitin ligase complex composed of Kelch-like 3 and Cullin 3 acts downstream of angiotensin II and plasma K+ alterations, regulating Na–Cl cotransporter independently of aldosterone in distal convoluted tubule cells. These and other effects are integrated to produce appropriate kidney responses in a high-aldosterone state, and are implicated in fluid and electrolyte disorders in humans. This review summarizes the current knowledge on mechanisms modulating mineralocorticoid receptor and its downstream effectors in the distal nephron.

    • Received 22 March 2017
    • Accepted 24 March 2017
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 24 March 2017
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