Acidosis-mediated regulation of the NHE1 isoform of the Na⁺/H⁺ exchanger in renal cells.

Research paper by Ayodeji A Odunewu, Larry L Fliegel

Indexed on: 17 May '13Published on: 17 May '13Published in: American journal of physiology. Renal physiology


The mammalian Na⁺/H⁺ exchanger isoform 1 (NHE1) is a ubiquitous plasma membrane protein that regulates intracellular pH by removing a proton in exchange for extracellular sodium. Renal tissues are subject to metabolic and respiratory acidosis, and acidosis has been shown to acutely activate NHE1 activity in other cell types. We examined if NHE1 is activated by acute acidosis in HEK293 and Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. Acute sustained intracellular acidosis (SIA) activated NHE1 in both cell types. We expressed wild-type and mutant NHE1 cDNAs in MDCK cells. All the cDNAs had a L163F/G174S mutation, which conferred a 100-fold resistance to EMD87580, an NHE1-specific inhibitor. We assayed exogenous NHE1 activity while inhibiting endogenous activity with EMD87580 and while inhibiting the NHE3 isoform of the Na⁺/H⁺ exchanger using the isoform-specific inhibitor S3226. We examined the activation and phosphorylation of the wild-type and mutant NHE1 proteins in response to SIA. In MDCK cells we demonstrated that the amino acids Ser⁷⁷¹, Ser⁷⁷⁶, Thr⁷⁷⁹, and Ser⁷⁸⁵ are important for NHE1 phosphorylation and activation after acute SIA. SIA activated ERK-dependent pathways in MDCK cells, and this was blocked by treatment with the MEK inhibitor U0126. Treatment with U0126 also blocked activation of NHE1 by SIA. These results suggest that acute acidosis activates NHE1 in mammalian kidney cells and that in MDCK cells this activation occurs through an ERK-dependent pathway affecting phosphorylation of a distinct set of amino acids in the cytosolic regulatory tail of NHE1.