A common NHE3 single-nucleotide polymorphism has normal function and sensitivity to regulatory ligands

Jianyi Yin, Chung Ming Tse, Boyoung Cha, Rafiquel Sarker, Xinjun C. Zhu, Anna Walentinsson, Peter J. Greasley, Mark Donowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Na+/H+ exchanger NHE3 mediates the majority of intestinal and renal electroneutral sodium absorption. Dysfunction of NHE3 is associated with a variety of diarrheal diseases. We previously reported that the NHE3 gene (SLC9A3) has more than 400 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) but few nonsynonymous polymorphisms. Among the latter, one polymorphism (rs2247114-G>A), which causes a substitution from arginine to cysteine at amino acid position 799 (p.R799C), is common in Asian populations. To improve our understanding of the population distribution and potential clinical significance of the NHE3-799C variant, we investigated the frequency of this polymorphism in different ethnic groups using bioinformatics analyses and in a cohort of Japanese patients with cardiovascular or renal disease. We also characterized the function of human NHE3-799C and its sensitivity to regulatory ligands in an in vitro model. NHE3-799C had an allele frequency of 29.5–57.6% in Asian populations, 11.1–23.6% in European populations, and 10.2–22.7% in African populations. PS120/FLAG-NHERF2 fibroblasts stably expressing NHE3-799C had lower total protein expression but a higher percentage of surface expression than those expressing NHE3-799R. NHE3-799C had similar basal activity to NHE3-799R and was similarly stimulated or inhibited, by serum or forskolin, respectively. Tenapanor, a small-molecule NHE3 inhibitor, dose-dependently inhibited NHE3-799R and NHE3-799C activities. The IC50 values of tenapanor for NHE3-799C and NHE3-799R were significantly different, but both were in the nanomolar range. These results suggest that NHE3-799C is a common variant enriched in Asian populations, is not associated with compromised function or abnormal regulation, and is unlikely to contribute to clinical disease. NEW & NOTEWORTHY This study reports results on the functional significance of human NHE3-799C under basal conditions and in response to regulatory ligands, including a novel NHE3 inhibitor called tenapanor. We demonstrate that NHE3-799C is a common variant of NHE3 that is enriched in Asian populations; however, in contrast to our previous studies using rabbit NHE3, its presence seems to have limited clinical significance in humans and is not associated with compromised function or abnormal transport regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G129-G137
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


  • Diarrhea
  • NHE3
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism
  • SNP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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