Aldosterone and Nuclear Volume CyclingOberleithner H. · Reinhardt J. · Schillers H. · Pagel P.# · Schneider S.W.#
Department of Physiology, University of Münster, Germany,# Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University Medical School, New Haven, USA
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The response of target cells to the steroid hormone aldosterone has been divided into acute nongenomic (< 10 min) and sustained genomic (> 10 min) action. In the light of recent experiments this nomenclature does not hold anymore and should be abandoned. By applying atomic force microscopy (AFM) we observed in living endothelial cells that aldosterone induces cell volume increase in less than 10 minutes. The cell nucleus was identified as the swelling site. Hormone-induced nuclear swelling can reach 15 to 28% of total cell volume dissipating within 30 minutes. This phenomenon could have functional impact on flow resistance in small blood vessels. AFM-investigation of the intracellular signal pathway in nuclear envelope of aldosterone-injected Xenopus laevis oocytes visualizes putative intracellular receptors (40 kD granules) bound to nuclear pores 2 minutes after hormone injection, with subsequent macromolecule translocation into the nucleus. 15 minutes later macromolecules (800 kD plugs) appear in the central channels of the nuclear pores. The plugs resemble ribonucleoproteins that carry the aldosterone-induced mRNA to the ribosomes. We postulate that steroid-induced nuclear swelling is caused by a shift of receptors/transcription factors from cytoplasm into nucleoplasm followed by gene transcription. Nuclear volume returns to normal when mRNA export through the nuclear pores is finished. Thus, steroid-induced net-movements of macromolecules between intracellular compartments initiate shifts in cell volume compensated by volume regulatory transporters and ion channels in the plasma membrane.
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