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Vol. 11, No. 3, 2001
Issue release date: 2001
Cell Physiol Biochem 2001;11:143–160

K-Cl Cotransport: Immunohistochemical and Ion Flux Studies in Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK293) Cells Transfected with Full-Length and C-Terminal-Domain-Truncated KCC1 cDNAs

Lauf P.K. · Zhang J. · Gagnon K.B.E. · Delpire E. · Fyffe R.E.W. · Adragna N.C.
Departments of Physiology and Biophysics, Anatomy, and Pharmacology and Toxicology, Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, OH and Anesthesiology*, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN

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Coupled K and Cl movements are mediated by several isoforms of the K-Cl cotransporter (COT) encoded by the KCC genes. The ubiquitous KCC1 isoform, important for cell volume and ion homeostasis, has 12 transmembrane domains (Tmds), and cytoplasmic N- and C-terminal domains (Ntd and Ctd). This study investigates the cellular localization of KCC1 by confocal microscopy, activation of K-Cl COT by various non-osmotic and osmotic interventions with net unidirectional K and Rb fluxes at 37°C, and the effect of Ctd deletion on K-Cl COT regulation. Human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells were transfected with full-length (fl) rabbit (rb)KCC1 and – CtdKCC1 cDNAs obtained after truncation at nucleotide 2011. Normal cells exposed to polyclonal anti-Ctd antibodies against Ctd epitopes within a 77 amino acid sequence (a.a.943-1020) revealed granular membrane and cytoplasmic immunostaining, presumably endogenous KCC1. Additional diffuse membrane and cytoplasmic immunofluorescence in flKCC1-transfected cells was absent in -CtdKCC1-transfected cells. Monoclonal antibodies against a c-myc epitope at the protein Ntd showed both membrane and cytosolic fluoresence. Basal and N-ethylmaleimide (NEM)-stimulated Rb influxes through K-Cl COT, calculated as Cl-dependent Rb fluxes, were 2-3-fold higher in flKCC1-transfected than in normal cells. NEM stimulation of K-Cl COT was highest in flKCC1-transfected cells, significantly lower in stably and abrogated in transiently –CtdKCC1-transfected cells. Furosemide, calyculin and genistein inhibited basal and NEM-stimulated K-Cl COT in normal and transfected cells. Staurosporine and hydroxylamine were ineffective stimulators. No effect of pH0 changes (6.3-8.4) was observed in basal or NEM-stimulated K-Cl COT, in both normal and transfected cells. However, inhibition by NEM occurred at pH0 8.4. Furthermore, in a Cl-independent manner, NEM lowered cell K content by >30% and hypotonicity (210-70mOsM) stimulated furosemide-sensitive Rb influx and K loss. Thus, in cultured normal and KCC1-transfected cells, K-Cl COT shows significant differences from erythrocytes, and NEM and cell swelling open furosemide-sensitive and Cl-independent K/Rb channels. Failure of K-Cl COT in cells transfected with Ctd-truncated KCC1 to respond to NEM suggests a role of the Ctd for signal transduction.

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