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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2002 Nov;283(5):F876-87.

Structural determinants and significance of regulation of electrogenic Na(+)-HCO(3)(-) cotransporter stoichiometry.

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Departments of Urology and Physiology and Biophysics, Case Western Reserve University, and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


Na(+)-HCO(3)(-) cotransporters play an important role in intracellular pH regulation and transepithelial HCO(3)(-) transport in various tissues. Of the characterized members of the HCO(3)(-) transporter superfamily, NBC1 and NBC4 proteins are known to be electrogenic. An important functional property of electrogenic Na(+)-HCO(3)(-) cotransporters is their HCO(3)(-):Na(+) coupling ratio, which sets the transporter reversal potential and determines the direction of Na(+)-HCO(3)(-) flux. Recent studies have shown that the HCO(3)(-):Na(+) transport stoichiometry of NBC1 proteins is either 2:1 or 3:1 depending on the cell type in which the transporters are expressed, indicating that the HCO(3)(-):Na(+) coupling ratio can be regulated. Mutational analysis has been very helpful in revealing the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways that modulate the coupling ratio. These studies have demonstrated that PKA-dependent phosphorylation of the COOH terminus of NBC1 proteins alters the transport stoichiometry. This cAMP-dependent signaling pathway provides HCO(3)(-) -transporting epithelia with an efficient mechanism for modulating the direction of Na(+)-HCO(3)(-) flux through the cotransporter.

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