Vasopressin plays an essential role for the regulation of water balance by activating the collecting duct-specific water channel, aquaporin-2 (AQP2). Here we present evidence that vasopressin may also act as a long-term, transcriptional regulator of AQP2. The studies were performed on LLC-PK1 cells, which normally express V2 receptor (V2R) and which were transfected with a fragment of the human AQP2 promoter. Activation of the adenylate cyclase-coupled V2R in LLC-PK1 cells induced phosphorylation of adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) responsive element binding protein (CREB) and expression of c-Fos. Binding of these factors to the CRE and AP1 site did, in combination, lead to AQP2 promoter activation. These results establish the role of vasopressin as a regulator of transcription and are the first example of how a message from a highly specific receptor is, via a dual effect of the cAMP signal on CREB and immediate early gene expression, transduced to the transcription of a final target protein with known biological effects.
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