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Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2006 Dec 30;52(8):115-21.

The NHE1 Na+/H+ exchanger regulates cell survival by activating and targeting ezrin to specific plasma membrane domains.

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  • 1Case School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Rammelkamp Center for Research, Cleveland, OH 44109-1998, USA.


NHE1 is a ubiquitously expressed Na+/H+ exchanger, which is important for vital cell functions. Using in vivo models of kidney podocyte injury and renal tubular epithelial cell (RTC) culture systems, we previously demonstrated that NHE1 defends against apoptosis by a mechanism involving ezrin binding to the NHE1 cytoplasmic domain. We now extend the NHE1 role to diabetic mouse models and refine the mechanism of NHE1-dependent ezrin activation. Streptozotocin induced diabetes resulted in greater azotemia, albuminuria and tubulointerstitial pathology in NHE1-deficient swe/swe compared to wild-type control mice. Increased RTC apoptosis was noted in swe/swe mice, suggesting that loss of NHE1 function leads to tubular atrophy, which predicts kidney disease progression. In vitro, proximal RTC derived from swe/swe mice also underwent increased apoptosis in response to staurosporine or a hypertonic environment. Activated ezrin normally resides in the apical domain of the proximal RTC, while NHE1 is a basolateral protein. After NHE1 activation by intracellular acidification or extracellular hypertonicity, confocal immunofluorescence microscopy in polarized LLC-PK1 cells demonstrated transient ezrin localization to lateral membrane domains, where it is positioned to interact with NHE1. We conclude that cell stresses promote NHE1-ezrin interaction, which activate cell survival pathways to prevent apoptosis in diabetic and non-diabetic kidney diseases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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