Expression of osmotic stress-related genes in tissues of normal and hyposmotic rats

Zheng Zhang, Joan D. Ferraris, Heddwen L. Brooks, Ioana Brisc, Maurice B. Burg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


TonEBP is a transcription factor that, when activated by hypertonicity, increases transcription of genes, including those involved in organic osmolyte accumulation. Surprisingly, it is expressed in virtually all tissues, including many never normally exposed to hypertonicity. We measured TonEBP mRNA (real-time PCR) and protein (Western blot analysis) in tissues of control (plasma osmolality 294 ± 1 mosmol/kgH2O) and hyposmotic (dDAVP infusion plus water loading for 3 days, 241 ± 2 mosmol/kgH 2O) rats to test whether the ubiquitous expression of TonEBP mRNA is osmotically regulated around the normal plasma osmolality. TonEBP protein is reduced by hyposmolality in thymus and liver, but not in brain, and is not detected in heart and skeletal muscle. TonEBP mRNA decreases in brain and liver but is unchanged in other tissues. There are no general changes in mRNA of TonEBP-mediated genes: aldose reductase (AR) does not change in any tissue, betaine transporter (BGT1) decreases only in liver, taurine transporter (TauT) only in brain and thymus, and inositol transporter (SMIT) only in skeletal muscle and liver. Heat shock protein (Hsp)70-1 and Hsp70-2 mRNA increase greatly in most tissues, which cannot be attributed to decreased TonEBP activity. The conclusions are as follows: 1) TonEBP protein or mRNA expression is reduced by hyposmolality in thymus, liver, and brain. 2) TonEBP protein and mRNA expression are differentially regulated in some tissues. 3) Although AR, SMIT, BGT1, and TauT are regulated by TonEBP in renal medullary cells, other sources of regulation may predominate in other tissues. 4) TonEBP abundance and activity are regulated by factors other than tonicity in some tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F688-F693
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number4 54-4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003


  • Aldose reductase
  • TonEBP
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


Dive into the research topics of 'Expression of osmotic stress-related genes in tissues of normal and hyposmotic rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this