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J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 24;279(52):54053-61. Epub 2004 Oct 14.

The alpha 1 isoform of Na,K-ATPase regulates cardiac contractility and functionally interacts and co-localizes with the Na/Ca exchanger in heart.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinanati, Ohio 45267, USA.


The primary objective of this study was to examine the functional role of the Na,K-ATPase alpha 1 isoform in the regulation of cardiac contractility. Previous studies using knock-out mice showed that the hearts of animals lacking one copy of the alpha 1 or alpha 2 isoform gene exhibit opposite phenotypes. Hearts from alpha 2(+/-) animals are hypercontractile, whereas those of the alpha 1(+/-) animals are hypocontractile. The cardiac phenotype of the alpha 1(+/-) animals was unexpected as other studies suggest that inhibition of either isoform increases contraction. To help resolve this difference, we have used genetically engineered knock-in mice expressing a ouabain-sensitive alpha 1 isoform and a ouabain-resistant alpha 2 isoform of the Na,K-ATPase, and we analyzed cardiac contractility following selective inhibition of the alpha1 isoform by ouabain. Administration of ouabain to these animals and to isolated heart preparations selectively inhibits only the activity of the alpha 1 isoform without affecting the activity of the alpha 2 isoform. Low concentrations of ouabain resulted in positive cardiac inotropy in both isolated hearts and intact animals expressing the modified alpha 1 and alpha 2 isoforms. Pretreatment with 10 microm KB-R7943, which inhibits the reverse mode of the Na/Ca exchanger, abolished the cardiotonic effects of ouabain in isolated wild type and knock-in hearts. Immunoprecipitation analysis demonstrated co-localization of the alpha1 isoform and the Na/Ca exchanger in cardiac sarcolemma. The alpha 1 isoform co-immunoprecipitated with the Na/Ca exchanger and vice versa. These results demonstrate that the alpha 1 isoform regulates cardiac contractility, and that both the alpha 1 and alpha 2 isoforms are functionally and physically coupled with the Na/Ca exchanger in heart.

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