Oestrogen-related receptor α (ERRα) is an orphan nuclear receptor which is important for adaptive metabolic responses under conditions of increased energy demand, such as cold, exercise and fasting. Importantly, metabolism under these conditions is usually accompanied by elevated production of organic acids, which may threaten the body acid–base status. Although ERRα is known to help regulate ion transport by the renal epithelia, its role in the transport of acid–base equivalents remains unknown. Here, we tested the hypothesis that ERRα is involved in acid–base regulation mechanisms by using zebrafish as the model to examine the effects of ERRα on transepithelial H+ secretion. ERRα is abundantly expressed in H+-pump-rich cells (HR cells), a group of ionocytes responsible for H+ secretion in the skin of developing embryos, and its expression is stimulated by acidic (pH 4) environments. Knockdown of ERRα impairs both basal and low pH-induced H+ secretion in the yolk-sac skin, which is accompanied by decreased expression of H+-secreting-related transporters. The effect of ERRα on H+ secretion is achieved through regulating both the total number of HR cells and the function of individual HR cells. These results demonstrate, for the first time, that ERRα is required for transepithelial H+ secretion for systemic acid–base homeostasis.
- Received October 27, 2015.
- Accepted February 2, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
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