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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jun 9;95(12):7179-84.

The role of transmembrane domain 2 in cation transport by the Na-K-Cl cotransporter.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


The human and shark Na-K-Cl cotransporters (NKCC), although 74% identical in amino acid sequence, exhibit marked differences in ion transport and bumetanide binding. We have utilized shark-human chimeras of NKCC1 to search for regions that confer the kinetic differences. Two chimeras (hs3.1 and its reverse sh3.1) with a junction point located at the beginning of the third transmembrane domain were examined after stable transfection in HEK-293 cells. Each carried out bumetanide-sensitive 86Rb influx with cation affinities intermediate between shark and human cotransporters. In conjunction with the previous finding that the N and C termini are not responsible for differences in ion transport, the current observations identify the second transmembrane domain as playing an important role. Site-specific mutagenesis of two pairs of residues in this domain revealed that one pair is indeed involved in the difference in Na affinity, and a second pair is involved in the difference in Rb affinity. Substitution of the same residues with corresponding residues from NKCC2 or the Na-Cl cotransporter resulted in cation affinity changes, consistent with the hypothesis that alternative splicing of transmembrane domain 2 endows different versions of NKCC2 with unique kinetic behaviors. None of the changes in transmembrane domain 2 was found to substantially affect Km(Cl), demonstrating that the affinity difference for Cl is specified by the region beyond predicted transmembrane domain 3. Finally, unlike Cl, bumetanide binding was strongly affected by shark-human replacement of transmembrane domain 2, indicating that the bumetanide-binding site is not the same as the Cl-binding site.

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