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J Gen Physiol. 1999 Jan;113(1):57-70.

A serine residue in ClC-3 links phosphorylation-dephosphorylation to chloride channel regulation by cell volume.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, Nevada 89557-0046, USA.


In many mammalian cells, ClC-3 volume-regulated chloride channels maintain a variety of normal cellular functions during osmotic perturbation. The molecular mechanisms of channel regulation by cell volume, however, are unknown. Since a number of recent studies point to the involvement of protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation in the control of volume-regulated ionic transport systems, we studied the relationship between channel phosphorylation and volume regulation of ClC-3 channels using site-directed mutagenesis and patch-clamp techniques. In native cardiac cells and when overexpressed in NIH/3T3 cells, ClC-3 channels were opened by cell swelling or inhibition of endogenous PKC, but closed by PKC activation, phosphatase inhibition, or elevation of intracellular Ca2+. Site-specific mutational studies indicate that a serine residue (serine51) within a consensus PKC-phosphorylation site in the intracellular amino terminus of the ClC-3 channel protein represents an important volume sensor of the channel. These results provide direct molecular and pharmacological evidence indicating that channel phosphorylation/dephosphorylation plays a crucial role in the regulation of volume sensitivity of recombinant ClC-3 channels and their native counterpart, ICl.vol.

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