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J Physiol. 1999 Nov 1;520 Pt 3:709-21.

Inhibition of Na+-H+ exchange impairs receptor-mediated albumin endocytosis in renal proximal tubule-derived epithelial cells from opossum.

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Physiologisches Institut, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.


1. Receptor-mediated endocytosis is an important mechanism for transport of macromolecules and regulation of cell-surface receptor expression. In renal proximal tubules, receptor-mediated endocytosis mediates the reabsorption of filtered albumin. Acidification of the endocytic compartments is essential because it interferes with ligand-receptor dissociation, vesicle trafficking, fusion events and coat formation. 2. Here we show that the activity of Na+-H+ exchanger isoform 3 (NHE3) is important for proper receptor-mediated endocytosis of albumin and endosomal pH homeostasis in a renal proximal tubular cell line (opossum kidney cells) which expresses NHE3 only. 3. Depending on their inhibitory potency with respect to NHE3 and their lipophilicity, the NHE inhibitors EIPA, amiloride and HOE694 differentially reduced albumin endocytosis. The hydrophilic inhibitor HOE642 had no effect. 4. Inhibition of NHE3 led to an alkalinization of early endosomes and to an acidification of the cytoplasm, indicating that Na+-H+ exchange contributes to the acidification of the early endosomal compartment due to the existence of a sufficient Na+ gradient across the endosomal membrane. 5. Exclusive acidification of the cytoplasm with propionic acid or by removal of Na+ induced a significantly smaller reduction in endocytosis than that induced by inhibition of Na+-H+ exchange. 6. Analysis of the inhibitory profiles indicates that in early endosomes and endocytic vesicles NHE3 is of major importance, whereas plasma membrane NHE3 plays a minor role. 7. Thus, NHE3-mediated acidification along the first part of the endocytic pathway plays an important role in receptor-mediated endocytosis. Furthermore, the involvement of NHE3 offers new ways to explain the regulation of receptor-mediated endocytosis.

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