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J Biol Chem. 2009 Sep 25;284(39):26666-75. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.019448. Epub 2009 Jul 21.

The sodium-hydrogen exchanger NHE1 is an Akt substrate necessary for actin filament reorganization by growth factors.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


The kinase Akt mediates signals from growth factor receptors for increased cell proliferation, survival, and migration, which contribute to the positive effects of Akt in cancer progression. Substrates are generally inhibited when phosphorylated by Akt; however, we show phosphorylation of the plasma membrane sodium-hydrogen exchanger NHE1 by Akt increases exchanger activity (H(+) efflux). Our data fulfill criteria for NHE1 being a bona fide Akt substrate, including direct phosphorylation in vitro, using mass spectrometry and Akt phospho-substrate antibodies to identify Ser(648) as the Akt phosphorylation site and loss of increased exchanger phosphorylation and activity by insulin and platelet-derived growth factor in fibroblasts expressing a mutant NHE1-S648A. How Akt induces actin cytoskeleton remodeling to promote cell migration and tumor cell metastasis is unclear, but disassembly of actin stress fibers by platelet-derived growth factor and insulin and increased proliferation in growth medium are inhibited in fibroblasts expressing NHE1-S648A. We predict that other functions shared by Akt and NHE1, including cell growth and survival, might be regulated by increased H(+) efflux.

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