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Biochemistry. 2003 Sep 2;42(34):10212-22.

Evidence for tryptophan residues in the cation transport path of the Na(+),K(+)-ATPase.

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Laboratorio de Biofísica, Instituto M. y M. Ferreyra, INIMEC-CONICET, 5000 Córdoba, Argentina.


A family of aryl isothiouronium derivatives was designed as probes for cation binding sites of Na(+),K(+)-ATPase. Previous work showed that 1-bromo-2,4,6-tris(methylisothiouronium)benzene (Br-TITU) acts as a competitive blocker of Na(+) or K(+) occlusion. In addition to a high-affinity cytoplasmic site (K(D) < 1 microM), a low-affinity site (K(D) approximately 10 microM) was detected, presumably extracellular. Here we describe properties of Br-TITU as a blocker at the extracellular surface. In human red blood cells Br-TITU inhibits ouabain-sensitive Na(+) transport (K(D) approximately 30 microM) in a manner antagonistic with respect to extracellular Na(+). In addition, Br-TITU impairs K(+)-stimulated dephosphorylation and Rb(+) occlusion from phosphorylated enzyme of renal Na(+),K(+)-ATPase, consistent with binding to an extracellular site. Incubation of renal Na(+),K(+)-ATPase with Br-TITU at pH 9 irreversibly inactivates Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity and Rb(+) occlusion. Rb(+) or Na(+) ions protect. Preincubation of Br-TITU with red cells in a K(+)-free medium at pH 9 irreversibly inactivates ouabain-sensitive (22)Na(+) efflux, showing that inactivation occurs at an extracellular site. K(+), Cs(+), and Li(+) ions protect against this effect, but the apparent affinity for K(+), Cs(+), or Li(+) is similar (K(D) approximately 5 mM) despite their different affinities for external activation of the Na(+) pump. Br-TITU quenches tryptophan fluorescence of renal Na(+),K(+)-ATPase or of digested "19 kDa membranes". After incubation at pH 9 irreversible loss of tryptophan fluorescence is observed and Rb(+) or Na(+) ions protect. The Br-TITU appears to interact strongly with tryptophan residue(s) within the lipid or at the extracellular membrane-water interface and interfere with cation occlusion and Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity.

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