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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2011 Jan;300(1):C42-8. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00386.2010. Epub 2010 Nov 3.

Modulation of Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase cell surface abundance through structural determinants on the α1-subunit.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Toledo College of Medicine, Ohio 43614-2598, USA.


Through their ion-pumping and non-ion-pumping functions, Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase protein complexes at the plasma membrane are critical to intracellular homeostasis and to the physiological and pharmacological actions of cardiotonic steroids. Alteration of the abundance of Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase units at the cell surface is one of the mechanisms for Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase regulation in health and diseases that has been closely examined over the past few decades. We here summarize these findings, with emphasis on studies that explicitly tested the involvement of defined regions or residues on the Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase α1 polypeptide. We also report new findings on the effect of manipulating Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase membrane abundance by targeting one of these defined regions: a dileucine motif of the form [D/E]XXXL[L/I]. In this study, opossum kidney cells stably expressing rat α1 Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase or a mutant where the motif was disrupted (α1-L499V) were exposed to 30 min of substrate/coverslip-induced-ischemia followed by reperfusion (I-R). Biotinylation studies suggested that I-R itself acted as an inducer of Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase internalization and that surface expression of the mutant was higher than the native Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase before and after ischemia. Annexin V/propidium iodide staining and lactate dehydrogenase release suggested that I-R injury was reduced in α1-L499V-expressing cells compared with α1-expressing cells. Hence, modulation of Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase cell surface abundance through structural determinants on the α-subunit is an important mechanism of regulation of cellular Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase in various physiological and pathophysiological conditions, with a significant impact on cell survival in face of an ischemic stress.

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