Determinants of Cation Permeation and Drug Sensitivity in Predicted Transmembrane Helix 9 and Adjoining Exofacial Re-Entrant Loop 5 of Na+/H+ Exchanger NHE1 [Protein Structure and Folding]

June 10th, 2015 by Jinadasa, T., Josephson, C. B., Boucher, A., Orlowski, J.

Mammalian Na+/H+ exchangers (NHEs) regulate numerous physiological processes and are involved in the pathogenesis of several diseases, including tissue ischemia and reperfusion injuries, cardiac hypertrophy and failure, and cancer progression. Hence, NHEs are being targeted for pharmaceutical-based clinical therapies, but pertinent information regarding the structural elements involved in cation translocation and drug binding remains incomplete. Molecular manipulations of the prototypical NHE1 isoform have implicated several predicted membrane-spanning (M) helices, most notably M4, M9 and M11, as important determinants of cation permeation and drug sensitivity. Here, we have used substituted-cysteine accessibility mutagenesis and thiol-modifying methanethiosulphonate (MTS) reagents to further probe the involvement of evolutionarily-conserved sites within M9 (residues 342-363) and the adjacent exofacial re-entrant loop 5 between M9 and M10 (EL5; residues 364-415) of a cysteine-less variant of rat NHE1 on its kinetic and pharmacological properties. MTS treatment significantly reduced the activity of mutants containing substitutions within M9 (H353C, S355C, and G356C) and EL5 (G403C and S405C). In the absence of MTS, mutants S355C, G403C and S405C showed modest to significant decreases in their apparent affinities for Na+o and/or H+i. In addition, mutations Y370C and E395C within EL5, while failing to confer sensitivity to MTS, nevertheless reduced the affinity for Na+o, but not for H+i. The Y370C mutant also exhibited higher affinity for ethylisopropylamiloride, a competitive antagonist of Na+o transport. Collectively, these results further implicate helix M9 and EL5 of NHE1 as important elements involved in cation transport and inhibitor sensitivity which may inform rational drug design.
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