NACh is a nucleic acid–conducting channel found in apical membrane of rat kidney proximal tubules. It is a heteromultimeric complex consisting of at least two proteins: a 45-kDa pore-forming subunit and a 36-kDa regulatory subunit. The regulatory subunit confers ion selectivity and influences gating kinetics. The regulatory subunit has been identified as cytosolic malate dehydrogenase (cMDH). cMDH is described in the literature as a soluble protein that is not associated with plasma membrane. Yet a role for cMDH as the regulatory subunit of NACh requires that it be present at the plasma membrane. To resolve this conflict, studies were initiated to determine whether cMDH could be found at the plasma membrane. Before performing localization studies, a suitable model system that expressed NACh was identified. A channel was identified in LLC-PK1 cells, a line derived from pig proximal tubule, that is selective for nucleic acid and has a conductance of approximately 10 pS. It exhibits dose-dependent blockade by heparan sulfate or l-malate. These characteristics are similar to what has been reported for NACh from rat kidney and indicate that NACh is present in LLC-PK1 cells. LLC-PK1 cells were therefore used as a model system for immunolocalization of cMDH. Both immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated cMDH at the plasma membrane of LLC-PK1 cells. This finding supports prior functional data that describe a role for cMDH as the regulatory subunit of NACh.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 18, 2008
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