The mineralocorticoid hormone aldosterone controls fluid and electrolyte transport in target cells of the kidney and the cardiovascular system. Classic genomic aldosterone action involves the activation of cytosolic mineralocorticoid receptors and translocation into the cell nucleus where specific transcription processes are initiated. A key barrier of the intracellular signalling pathway is the nuclear envelope, which physically separates the nucleoplasm from the cytoplasm. It was shown recently that aldosterone changes ion conductivity of the nuclear envelope mediated by nuclear pore complexes. The latter are supramolecular nanomachines responsible for import and export of inorganic ions and macromolecules. The aim of the present study was to test whether aldosterone changes the macromolecule permeability of the nuclear envelope. Aldosterone-responsive Xenopus laevis oocytes were used as a model system. We isolated the cell nuclei at defined times after hormone injection. By means of confocal fluorescence microscopy and fluorescence-labelled dextrans we evaluated passive macromolecule import and export in isolated nuclei. 10 minutes after aldosterone injection nuclear envelope permeability of 10 kD dextran was found sharply increased. At the same time cell nuclei were found swollen by about 28%. Changes in nuclear volume and nuclear envelope permeability lasted 5 to 15 minutes and could be inhibited by the mineralocorticoid receptor blocker spironolactone. We conclude that aldosterone transiently changes the barrier function of the nuclear envelope. This short-lasting permeability change signals the start of a sustained transcription process that follows in response to steroids.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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