NHE3 mobility in brush borders increases upon NHERF2-dependent stimulation by lyophosphatidic acid

Boyoung Cha, Xinjun Cindy Zhu, Weiping Chen, Michelle Jones, Sungwoo Ryoo, Nicholas C. Zachos, Tien E. Chen, Rong Lin, Rafiquel Sarker, Anne K. Kenworthy, Ming Tse, Olga Kovbasnjuk, Mark Donowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The epithelial brush border (BB) Na +/H + exchanger NHE3 is associated with the actin cytoskeleton by binding both directly and indirectly to ezrin; indirect binding is via attachment to NHERF family proteins. NHE3 mobility in polarized epithelial cell BBs is restricted by the actin cytoskeleton and NHERF binding such that only ~30% of NHE3 in the apical domain of an OK cell line stably expressing NHERF2 is mobile, as judged by FRAP analysis. Given that levels of NHE3 are partially regulated by changes in trafficking, we investigated whether the cytoskeleton association of NHE3 was dynamic and changed as part of acute regulation to allow NHE3 trafficking. The agonist studied was lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), an inflammatory mediator, which acutely stimulates NHE3 activity by increasing the amount of NHE3 on the BBs by stimulated exocytosis. LPA acutely stimulated NHE3 activity in OK cells stably expressing NHERF2. Two conditions that totally prevented LPA stimulation of NHE3 activity only partially prevented stimulation of NHE3 mobility: the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY294002, and the NHE3F1 double mutant which has minimal direct binding of NHE3 to ezrin. These results show that LPA stimulation of NHE3 mobility occurs in two parts: (1) PI3K-dependent exocytic trafficking to the BB and (2) an increase in surface mobility of NHE3 in BBs under basal conditions. Moreover, the LPA stimulatory effect on NHE3 mobility required NHERF2. Although NHE3 and NHERF2 co-precipitated under basal conditions, they failed to co-precipitate 30 minutes after addition of LPA, whereas the physical association was re-established by 50-60 minutes. This dynamic interaction between NHERF2 and NHE3 was confirmed by acceptor photobleaching Förster Resonance energy Transfer (FRET). The restricted mobility of NHE3 in BBs under basal conditions as a result of cytoskeleton association is therefore dynamic and is reversed as part of acute LPA stimulation of NHE3. We suggest that this acute but transient increase in NHE3 mobility induced by LPA occurs via two processes: addition of NHE3 to the BB by exocytosis, a process which precedes binding of NHE3 to the actin cytoskeleton via NHERF2-ezrin, and by release of NHERF2 from the NHE3 already localized in the apical membrane, enabling NHE3 to distribute throughout the microvilli. These fractions of NHE3 make up a newly identified pool of NHE3 called the 'transit pool'. Moreover, our results show that there are two aspects of LPA signaling involved in stimulation of NHE3 activity: PI3K-dependent stimulated NHE3 exocytosis and the newly described, PI3K-independent dissociation of microvillar NHE3 from NHERF2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2434-2443
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2010


  • Brush border
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Exocytosis
  • FRAP
  • FRET
  • NHE3
  • NHERF2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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