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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Sep 10;110(37):14972-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1220884110. Epub 2013 Aug 26.

Anion translocation through an Slc26 transporter mediates lumen expansion during tubulogenesis.

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  • 1Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology, University of Bergen, 5008 Bergen, Norway.


Lumen formation is a critical event in biological tube formation, yet its molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. Specifically, how lumen expansion is coordinated with other processes of tubulogenesis is not well known, and the role of membrane transporters in tubulogenesis during development has not been adequately addressed. Here we identify a solute carrier 26 (Slc26) family protein as an essential regulator of tubulogenesis using the notochord of the invertebrate chordate Ciona intestinalis as a model. Ci-Slc26aα is indispensable for lumen formation and expansion, but not for apical/luminal membrane formation and lumen connection. Ci-Slc26aα acts as an anion transporter, mediating the electrogenic exchange of sulfate or oxalate for chloride or bicarbonate and electroneutral chloride:bicarbonate exchange. Mutant rescue assays show that this transport activity is essential for Ci-Slc26aα's in vivo function. Our work reveals the consequences and relationships of several key processes in lumen formation, and establishes an in vivo assay for studying the molecular basis of the transport properties of SLC26 family transporters and their related diseases.

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