Distal convoluted tubule Cl-concentration is modulated via K+ channels and transporters

Xiao Tong Su, Nathan J. Klett, Avika Sharma, Charles N. Allen, Wen Hui Wang, Chao Ling Yang, David H. Ellison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Cl-sensitive with-no-lysine kinase (WNK) plays a key role in regulating the thiazide-sensitive Na+-Cl- cotransporter (NCC) in the distal convoluted tubule (DCT). Cl- enters DCT cells through NCC and leaves the cell across the basolateral membrane via the Cl- channel ClC-K2 or K+-Cl- cotransporter (KCC). While KCC is electroneutral, Cl- exit via ClC-K2 is electrogenic. Therefore, an alteration in DCT basolateral K+ channel activity is expected to influence Cl- movement across the basolateral membrane. Although a role for intracellular Cl- in the regulation of WNK and NCC has been established, intracellular Cl- concentrations ([Cl-]i) have not been directly measured in the mammalian DCT. Therefore, to measure [Cl-]i in DCT cells, we generated a transgenic mouse model expressing an optogenetic kidney-specific Cl-Sensor and measured Cl- fluorescent imaging in the isolated DCT. Basal measurements indicated that the mean [Cl-]i was ~7 mM. Stimulation of Cl- exit with low-Cl- hypotonic solutions decreased [Cl-]i, whereas inhibition of KCC by DIOA or inhibition of ClC-K2 by NPPB increased [Cl-]i, suggesting roles for both KCC and ClC-K2 in the modulation of [Cl-]i. Blockade of basolateral K+ channels (Kir4.1/5.1) with barium significantly increased [Cl-]i. Finally, a decrease in extracellular K+ concentration transiently decreased [Cl-]i, whereas raising extracellular K+ transiently increased [Cl-]i, further suggesting a role for Kir4.1/5.1 in the regulation of [Cl-]i. We conclude that the alteration in ClC-K2, KCC, and Kir4.1/5.1 activity influences [Cl-]i in the DCT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F534-F540
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Chloride
  • Chloride channel
  • K+-Cl- cotransporter
  • Na+-Cl- cotransporter
  • Potassium channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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