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J Biol Chem. 2007 Nov 30;282(48):35125-32. Epub 2007 Sep 21.

Enhanced formation of a HCO3- transport metabolon in exocrine cells of Nhe1-/- mice.

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  • 1Center for Oral Biology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


Cl(-) influx across the basolateral membrane is a limiting step in fluid production in exocrine cells and often involves functionally linked Cl(-)/HCO(3)(-) (Ae) and Na(+)/H(+) (Nhe) exchange mechanisms. The dependence of this major Cl(-) uptake pathway on Na(+)/H(+) exchanger expression was examined in the parotid acinar cells of Nhe1(-/-) and Nhe2(-/-) mice, both of which exhibited impaired fluid secretion. No change in Cl(-)/HCO(3)(-) exchanger activity was detected in Nhe2-deficient mice. Conversely, Cl(-)/HCO(3)(-) exchanger activity increased nearly 4-fold in Nhe1-deficient mice, despite only minimal or any change in mRNA and protein levels of the anion exchanger Ae2. Acetazolamide completely blocked the increase in Cl(-)/HCO(3)(-) exchanger activity in Nhe1-null mice suggesting that increased anion exchange required carbonic anhydrase activity. Indeed, the parotid glands of Nhe1(-/-) mice expressed higher levels of carbonic anhydrase 2 (Car2) polypeptide. Moreover, the enhanced Cl(-)/HCO(3)(-) exchange activity was accompanied by an increased abundance of Car2.Ae2 complexes in the parotid plasma membranes of Nhe1(-/-) mice. Anion exchanger activity was also significantly reduced in Car2-deficient mice, consistent with an important role of a putative Car2.Ae2 HCO(3)(-) transport metabolon in parotid exocrine cell function. Increased abundance of this HCO(3)(-) transport metabolon is likely one of the multiple compensatory changes in the exocrine parotid gland of Nhe1(-/-) mice that together attenuate the severity of in vivo electrolyte and acid-base balance perturbations.

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