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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The epithelial sodium-hydrogen antiporter Na+/H+ exchanger 3 accumulates and is functional in recycling endosomes.

Na+/H+ exchangers (NHEs) mediate electroneutral exchange of Na+ for H+ and thereby play a central role in pH regulation and Na+ homeostasis. NHE3, the predominant epithelial isoform, is found in apical membranes of renal and intestinal epithelial cells, where it contributes to NaCl (re)absorption. NHE activity has been detected in endomembrane vesicles of epithelial cells, but the precise compartment involved and its functional role have not been defined. Many aspects of the targeting machinery that defines the compartmentation and polarity of epithelia are also functional in nonepithelial cells. We therefore compared the targeting of NHE1, the basolateral isoform, with that of NHE3 in Chinese hamster ovary cells. To circumvent the confounding effects of endogenous exchangers, epitope-tagged constructs of NHE1 and NHE3 were stably expressed in antiport-deficient (AP-1) cells. While NHE1 was found almost exclusively in the surface membrane, NHE3 was also found intracellularly, accumulating in a juxtanuclear compartment. Confocal microscopy showed this compartment to be distinct from the Golgi, trans-Golgi network, and lysosomes. Instead, NHE3 colocalized with transferrin receptors and with cellubrevin, markers of recycling endosomes. The activity of NHE3 in endomembranes was assessed by targeting pH-sensitive probes to the recycling endosomes using a chimeric cellubrevin construct with an accessible extracellular epitope. Fluorescence ratio imaging indicated that cellubrevin resides intracellularly in an acidic compartment. In AP-1 cells, endosomal acidification was unaffected by omission of Na+ but was dissipated entirely by concanamycin, a blocker of H(+)-ATPases. In contrast, the cellubrevin compartment was more acidic in NHE3 transfectants, and the acidification was only partially reduced by concanamycin. Moreover, removal of extracellular Na+ resulted in a significant alkalization of the endocytic compartment. These results indicate that NHE3 is present and active in recycling endosomes. By recruiting NHE3 to the plasma membrane, modulation of vesicular traffic could contribute to the regulation of Na+ reabsorption across epithelia.[1]


  1. The epithelial sodium-hydrogen antiporter Na+/H+ exchanger 3 accumulates and is functional in recycling endosomes. D'Souza, S., Garcia-Cabado, A., Yu, F., Teter, K., Lukacs, G., Skorecki, K., Moore, H.P., Orlowski, J., Grinstein, S. J. Biol. Chem. (1998) [Pubmed]
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