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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Apr;986:497-503.

Molecular mechanisms of Na/K-ATPase-mediated signal transduction.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Medicine, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo 43614, USA.


Our recent work shows that in addition to pumping ions, Na/K-ATPase acts as a signal transducer. Binding of ouabain to Na/K-ATPase changes the interaction of the enzyme with neighboring membrane proteins and induces the formation of multiple signaling modules, resulting in activation of Src, transactivation of the EGF receptor (EGFR), and increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Interaction of these signals leads to activation of several other cascades, including p42/44 and p38 MAPKs, phospholipase C, and protein kinase C isozymes, in a cell-specific manner. Ouabain also increases [Ca(2+)](i) and contractility, induces some of the early-response protooncogenes, and activates transcription factors AP-1 and NF-kappaB. Interplay among these pathways eventually results in changes in the expression of a number of growth-related genes and in cell growth. Significantly, inhibition of Src blocked many of the aforementioned ouabain-activated signaling pathways. Furthermore, Src binds to Na/K-ATPase directly and ouabain regulates the interaction between Src and the enzyme, resulting in Src activation. To address the possibility that the signaling Na/K-ATPase is concentrated in a separate pool on the plasma membrane, we have assessed interaction of the enzyme with caveolins. These studies indicated that Na/K-ATPase was concentrated in caveolae/rafts. In addition, caveolin-1 can be co-immunoprecipitated with Na/K-ATPase. Finally, we have shown that the signaling function of the enzyme is also pivotal to ouabain-induced nongenomic effects on cardiac myocytes.

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