Elevated calcium acutely regulates dynamic interactions of NHERF2 and NHE3 proteins in opossum kidney (OK) cell microvilli

Xinjun Zhu, Boyoung Cha, Nicholas C. Zachos, Rafiquel Sarker, Molee Chakraborty, Tian E. Chen, Olga Kovbasnjuk, Mark Donowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The brush border (BB) Na +/H + exchanger NHE3 is rapidly activated or inhibited by changes in trafficking, which mimics renal and intestinal physiology. However, there is a paradox in that NHE3 has limited mobility in the BB due to its binding to the multi-PDZ domain containing the NHERF family. To allow increased endocytosis, as occurs with elevated intracellular Ca 2+, we hypothesized that NHE3 had to be, at least transiently, released from the BB cytoskeleton. Because NHERF1 and -2 are localized at the BB, where they bind NHE3 as well as the cytoskeleton, we tested whether either or both might dynamically interact with NHE3 as part of Ca 2+signaling. We employed FRET to study close association of NHE3 and these NHERFs and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching to monitor NHE3 mobility in the apical domain in polarized opossum kidney cells. Under basal conditions, NHERF2 and NHE3 exhibited robust FRET signaling. Within 1 min of A23187 (0.5 μM) exposure, the NHERF2- NHE3 FRET signal was abolished, and BB NHE3 mobility was transiently increased. The dynamics in FRET signal and NHE3 mobility correlated well with a change in co-precipitation of NHE3 and NHERF2 but not NHERF1. We conclude the following. 1) Under basal conditions, NHE3 closely associates with NHERF2 in opossum kidney cell microvilli. 2) Within 1 min of elevated Ca 2+, the close association of NHE3-NHERF2 is abolished but is re-established in ∼60 min. 3) The change in NHE3-NHERF2 association is accompanied by an increased BB mobile fraction of NHE3, which contributes to inhibition of NHE3 transport activity via increased endocytosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34486-34496
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 7 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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