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Biochemistry. 2005 Oct 25;44(42):13702-12.

Topography of the membrane domain of the liver Na+-dependent bile acid transporter.

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Department of Physiology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, and VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California 90073, USA.


The ileal apical and liver basolateral bile acid transporters catalyze the Na+-dependent uptake of these amphipathic molecules in the intestine and liver. They contain nine predicted helical hydrophobic sequences (H1-H9) between the exoplasmic N-glycosylated N terminus and the cytoplasmic C terminus. Previous in vitro translation and in vivo alanine insertion scanning studies gave evidence for either nine or seven transmembrane segments, with H3 and H8 noninserted in the latter model. N-terminal GFP constructs containing either successive predicted segments or only the last two domains of the liver transporter following a membrane anchor signal were expressed in HEK-293 cells, and a C-terminal glycosylation flag allowed detection of membrane insertion. Western blot analysis with anti-GFP antibody after alkali and PNGase treatment showed that H1, H2, H3 behaved as competent transmembrane (TM) sequences. Results from longer constructs were difficult to interpret. H9, however, but not H8 was membrane-inserted. To analyze the intact transporter, a C-terminal YFP fusion protein was expressed as a functionally active protein in the plasma membrane of HEK-293 cells as seen by confocal microscopy. After limited tryptic digestion to ensure the accessibility of only exoplasmic lysine or arginine residues, molecular weight (MW) analysis of the five cleavage products on SDS-PAGE predicted the presence of seven transmembrane segments, H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6, and H9, with H7 and H8 exoplasmic. This new method provided evidence for seven membrane segments giving a new model of the membrane domain of this protein and probably the homologous ileal transporter, with H7/H8 as the transport region.

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