Molecular cloning of putative members of the Na/H exchanger gene family. cDNA cloning, deduced amino acid sequence, and mRNA tissue expression of the rat Na/H exchanger NHE-1 and two structurally related proteins.
Biochemical and pharmacological data support the existence of multiple forms of the Na/H exchanger (NHE). Two isoforms, termed NHE-1 and NHE-2, have recently been isolated from rabbit ileal villus epithelial cells (Tse, C. M., Ma, A. I., Yang, V. W., Watson, A. J. M., Levine, S., Montrose, M. H., Potter, J., Sardet, C., Pouysségur, J., and Donowitz, M. (1991) EMBO J. 10, 1957-1967; Tse, C. M., Watson, A. J. M., Ma, A. I., Pouysségur, J., and Donowitz, M. (1991) Gastroenterology 100, A258). To identify additional molecular forms of the exchanger, rat brain, heart, kidney, stomach, and spleen cDNA libraries were screened for their presence using an NHE-1 cDNA probe under low stringency hybridization conditions. cDNAs encoding rat NHE-1 and two structurally related proteins, designated NHE-3 and NHE-4, have been isolated. Based on the deduced amino acid sequences, NHE-1, -3, and -4 are similar in size, having relative molecular masses of 91,506, 92,997, and 81,427, respectively. Overall, the proteins exhibit approximately 40% amino acid identity to each other and have similar hydropathy profiles, suggesting that they have the same transmembrane organization. The predicted N-terminal transmembrane regions of the three proteins, which span between 453 and 503 amino acids, exhibit the highest degree of identity (45-49%). In contrast, the C-terminal cytoplasmic regions, which span between 247 and 378 amino acids, exhibit very low amino acid identity (24-31%). Tissue distribution studies reveal that the NHE-1 mRNA is present at varying levels in all tissues examined, whereas NHE-3 and NHE-4 mRNAs exhibit a more limited distribution. NHE-3 mRNA is expressed at high levels in colon and small intestine, with significant levels also present in kidney and stomach. NHE-4 mRNA is most abundant in stomach, followed by intermediate levels in small intestine and colon and lesser amounts in kidney, brain, uterus, and skeletal muscle. These data suggest that the molecular basis for the functional diversity of the Na/H exchanger in mammals is based, at least in part, on expression of multiple members of a gene family.