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J Membr Biol. 1996 Feb;149(3):161-8.

Phylogenetic, structural and functional characteristics of the Na-K-Cl cotransporter family.

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Department of Biology, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0116, USA.


Bumetanide-sensitive Na-K-Cl cotransporters and thiazide-sensitive Na-Cl cotransporters comprise a family of integral membrane transport proteins, the Na-K-Cl cotransporter (NKCC) family. Each of the members of this family is over 1,000 amino acids in length. We have multiply aligned the ten currently sequenced members of this family from human, rabbit, rodent, shark, flounder, moth, worm and yeast sources. Phylogenetic analyses suggest the presence of at least six isoforms of these full length proteins in eukaryotes. Average hydropathy and average similarity plots have been derived revealing that each of these proteins possesses a central, well conserved, hydrophobic domain of almost invariant length, possibly consisting of twelve transmembrane alpha-helical spanners, an N-terminal, poorly conserved, hydrophilic domain of variable length, and a C-terminal, moderately conserved, hydrophilic domain of moderately constant length. A functionally uncharacterized homologue of this family occurs in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. Limited sequence similarity of these proteins with members of a family of basic amino acid transporters suggest that the NKCC family may be distantly related to the previously characterized, ubiquitous, amino acid-polyamine-choline (APC) family of facilitators. These observations suggest that the NKCC family is an old family that has its roots in the prokaryotic kingdom.

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