Somatic mutations of genes codifying for key regulatory proteins are the cause of different types of hormone-secreting adenomas. Natriuretic peptides (NP) are the strongest inhibitors of aldosterone secretion but aldosterone-secreting adenomas (aldosteronomas) are resistant to this inhibition and have reduced binding sites for NPs. The objective of this study was to sequence the entire coding region of the NP receptor type A (NPRA, codified by the Npr1 gene) to find loss-of-function somatic mutations. Total RNA was extracted from eight aldosteronomas and cDNA was synthesized. NPRA mRNA expression was evaluated by Northern blot analysis and compared with β-actin mRNA as the housekeeping gene. Twelve primer couples were designed on the basis of the Npr1 gene organization to amplify, by PCR, all 22 coding exons of the gene. The two strands of amplified DNAs were purified and directly sequenced by automated capillary sequencer. NPRA mRNA expression did not differ among aldosteronomas. Npr1 open reading frame sequences obtained from eight aldosteronomas did not contain any mutation. The coding sequences of all 22 exons were identical in all samples and identical to published sequences. In the 3′-untranslated region (3′-UTR) a new length difference 3C/4C polymorphism was found at position 15 129 (three adenomas were 3C/4C and two were 3C/3C). Such a 3C/4C polymorphism was present in genomic DNA from 80 control subjects (25, 4C/4C; 40, 3C/4C; 15, 3C/3C). Mutations in the coding exons of the Npr1 gene do not appear to be a common cause of aldosteronomas. Moreover, the exons of Npr1 encoding for the translated portion of mRNA do not appear to be prone to polymorphisms. The polymorphism identified in the 3′-UTR might affect mRNA stability resulting in lower receptor synthesis, but it is not likely to confer a predisposition to the development of aldosteronomas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas