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Am J Physiol. 1989 Feb;256(2 Pt 1):C428-33.

Internal pH-sensitive site couples Cl-(-)HCO3- exchange to Na+-H+ antiport in lymphocytes.

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Division of Cell Biology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Parallel exchange of Na+-H+ and Cl-(-)HCO3- is thought to be central to the translocation of electrolytes and water during cell volume regulation and in transepithelial transport. Coupling between these transporters is thought to be indirect, through changes in the concentration of HCO3-, which result from alterations in cytosolic pH (pHi). The possibility of a more direct, HCO3-(-)independent interaction between Cl-(-)HCO3- exchange and the Na+-H+ antiport was studied in rat thymic lymphocytes. Measurements of radioactive Cl- flux and of HCO3-(-)dependent pHi changes demonstrated the presence of a Na+-independent, 4,4'diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid-sensitive Cl-(-)HCO3- exchanger. At constant external pH, the rate of Cl-(-)HCO3- exchange was markedly accelerated by increasing pHi between 7.0 and 7.4. This activation was not related to variations in the concentration of HCO3- and is likely caused by a direct effect of intracellular H+ (OH-) on the exchanger. Osmotic shrinking of the cells induced a cytoplasmic alkalinization, due to activation of the Na+-H+ antiport. Concomitantly, the rate of anion exchange also increased. The stimulation of Cl-(-)HCO3- exchange was eliminated when the alkalinization caused by Na+-H+ exchange was precluded. These observations suggest that the exquisite pHi sensitivity of the Cl-(-)HCO3- exchange system provides a mechanism whereby the rates of cation and anion transport are closely coupled.

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