Stop Codon Polymorphisms in the Human SLC9A1 Gene Disrupt or Compromise Na+/H+ Exchanger Function.

Research paper by Xiuju X Li, Aruna A Augustine, Shuo S Chen, Larry L Fliegel

Indexed on: 17 Sep '16Published on: 17 Sep '16Published in: PloS one


The NHE1 isoform of the mammalian Na+/H+ exchanger is a ubiquitous plasma membrane protein that regulates intracellular pH in mammalian cells by removing one intracellular proton in exchange for one extracellular sodium. Deletion of the NHE1 gene (SLC9A1) affects the growth and motor ability of mice and humans but mutations and polymorphisms of the gene are only beginning to be characterized. NHE1 has a cytosolic C-terminal regulatory tail of approximately 315 amino acids and a 500 amino acid membrane domain. We examined the functional effects of three human stop codon mutations at amino acids 321, 449 and 735 in comparison with a mutant that had a shortened tail region (543 stop codon). The short mutants, 321, 449 and 543 stop codon mutant proteins, lost NHE1 activity and expression, and did not target to the plasma membrane. Protein for these short mutants was more rapidly degraded than the wild type and 735 ending proteins. The 735 terminating mutant, with the membrane domain and much of the cytosolic tail, had reduced protein expression and activity. The results demonstrate that early stop codon polymorphisms have significant and deleterious effects on the activity of the SLC9A1 protein product. The 735-NHE1 mutant, without the last 80 amino acids, had more minor defects. Surprisingly, retention of a proximal 43 amino acids adjacent to the membrane domain did little to maintain NHE1 expression, targeting and activity.