The thiazide-sensitive NaCl cotransporter (NCC) of the renal distal convoluted tubule (DCT) controls ion homeostasis and arterial BP. Loss-of-function mutations of NCC cause renal salt wasting with arterial hypotension (Gitelman syndrome). Conversely, mutations in the NCC-regulating WNK kinases or kelch-like 3 protein cause familial hyperkalemic hypertension. Here, we performed automated sorting of mouse DCTs and microarray analysis for comprehensive identification of novel DCT-enriched gene products, which may potentially regulate DCT and NCC function. This approach identified protein phosphatase 1 inhibitor-1 (I-1) as a DCT-enriched transcript, and immunohistochemistry revealed I-1 expression in mouse and human DCTs and thick ascending limbs. In heterologous expression systems, coexpression of NCC with I-1 increased thiazide-dependent Na+ uptake, whereas RNAi-mediated knockdown of endogenous I-1 reduced NCC phosphorylation. Likewise, levels of phosphorylated NCC decreased by approximately 50% in I-1 (I-1-/-) knockout mice without changes in total NCC expression. The abundance and phosphorylation of other renal sodium-transporting proteins, including NaPi-IIa, NKCC2, and ENaC, did not change, although the abundance of pendrin increased in these mice. The abundance, phosphorylation, and subcellular localization of SPAK were similar in wild-type (WT) and I-1-/- mice. Compared with WT mice, I-1-/- mice exhibited significantly lower arterial BP but did not display other metabolic features of NCC dysregulation. Thus, I-1 is a DCT-enriched gene product that controls arterial BP, possibly through regulation of NCC activity.
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