The sodium-bicarbonate cotransporter NBC1 is targeted exclusively at the basolateral membrane. Mutagenesis of a dihydrophobic FL motif (residues 1013–1014) in the C-terminal domain disrupts the targeting of NBC1. In the present study, we determined the precise constraints of the FL motif required for basolateral targeting of NBC1 by expressing epitope-tagged wild-type and mutant NBC1 in MDCK cells and RNA-injected Xenopus oocytes and examining their subcellular localization. We assayed the functional activity of the mutants by measuring bicarbonate-induced currents in oocytes. Wild-type NBC1 (containing PFLS) was expressed exclusively on the basolateral membrane in MDCK cells. Reversal of the FL motif (PLFS) had no effect on basolateral targeting or activity. Shifting the FL motif one residue upstream (FLPS) resulted in mistargeting of the apical membrane but the FLPS mutant retained its functional activity in oocytes. Shifting the FL motif one residue downstream resulted in a mutant (PSFL) that did not efficiently translocate to the plasma membrane and was instead colocalized with the ER marker, protein disulfide isomerase (PDI). Analysis of circular dichroism (CD) revealed that a short peptide, 20 amino acid residues, of wild-type NBC1 contained a significant α-helical structure, whereas peptides in which the FL motif was reversed or C-terminally shifted were disordered. We therefore propose that the specific orientation and the precise location of the FL motif in the primary sequence of NBC1 are strict requirements for the α-helical structure of the C-terminal cytoplasmic domain and for targeting of NBC1 to the basolateral membrane.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 18, 2009
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