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Am J Physiol. 1999 Jan;276(1 Pt 2):F27-38.

Immunolocalization of the electrogenic Na+-HCO-3 cotransporter in mammalian and amphibian kidney.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Section of Nephrology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Electrogenic cotransport of Na+ and HCO-3 is a crucial element of HCO-3 reabsorption in the renal proximal tubule (PT). An electrogenic Na+-HCO-3 cotransporter (NBC) has recently been cloned from salamander and rat kidney. In the present study, we generated polyclonal antibodies (pAbs) to NBC and used them to characterize NBC on the protein level by immunochemical methods. We generated pAbs in guinea pigs and rabbits by immunizing with a fusion protein containing the carboxy-terminal 108 amino acids (amino acids 928-1035) of rat kidney NBC (rkNBC). By indirect immunofluorescence microscopy, the pAbs strongly labeled HEK-293 cells transiently expressing NBC, but not in untransfected cells. By immunoblotting, the pAbs recognized a approximately 130-kDa band in Xenopus laevis oocytes expressing rkNBC, but not in control oocytes injected with water or cRNA for the Cl-/HCO-3 exchanger AE2. In immunoblotting experiments on renal microsomes, the pAbs specifically labeled a major band at approximately 130 kDa in both rat and rabbit, as well as a single approximately 160-kDa band in salamander kidney. By indirect immunofluorescence microscopy on 0.5-micrometer cryosections of rat and rabbit kidneys fixed in paraformaldehyde-lysine-periodate (PLP), the pAbs produced a strong and exclusively basolateral staining of the PT. In the salamander kidney, the pAbs labeled only weakly the basolateral membrane of the PT. In contrast, we observed strong basolateral labeling in the late distal tubule, but not in the early distal tubule. The specificity of the pAbs for both immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry was confirmed in antibody preabsorption experiments using either the fusion protein used for immunization or similarly prepared control fusion proteins. In summary, we have developed antibodies specific for NBC, determined the apparent molecular weights of rat, rabbit, and salamander kidney NBC proteins, and described the localization of NBC within the kidney of these mammalian and amphibian species.

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