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J Insect Physiol. 1998 Mar;44(3-4):197-210.

Insect Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase.

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Department of Biology, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Prince Consort Road, London, UK


Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase (sodium/potassium pump) is a P-type ion-motive ATPase found in the plasma membranes of animal cels. In vertebrates, the functions of this enzyme in nerves, heart and kidney are well characterized and characteristics a defined by different isoforms. In contrast, despite different tissue distributions, insects possess a single isoform of the alpha-subunit. A comparison of insect and vertebrate Na(+)/K(+)-ATPases reveals that although the mode of action and structure are very highly conserved, the specific roles of the enzyme in most tissues varies. However, the enzyme is essential for the function of nerve cells, and in this respect Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase appears to be fundamental in metazoan evolution.

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