Nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms of NHE3 differentially decrease NHE3 transporter activity

Xinjun Cindy Zhu, Rafiquel Sarker, John R. Horton, Molee Chakraborty, Tian E. Chen, C. Ming Tse, Boyoung Cha, Mark Donowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Genetic determinants appear to play a role in susceptibility to chronic diarrhea, but the genetic abnormalities involved have only been identified in a few conditions. The Na+/H+ exchanger 3 (NHE3) accounts for a large fraction of physiologic intestinal Na+ absorption. It is highly regulated through effects on its intracellular COOH-terminal regulatory domain. The impact of genetic variation in the NHE3 gene, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), on transporter activity remains unexplored. From a total of 458 SNPs identified in the entire NHE3 gene, we identified three nonsynonymous mutations (R474Q, V567M, and R799C), which were all in the protein’s intracellular COOH-terminal domain. Here we evaluated whether these SNPs affect NHE3 activity by expressing them in a mammalian cell line that is null for all plasma membrane NHEs. These variants significantly reduced basal NHE3 transporter activity through a reduction in intrinsic NHE3 function in variant R474Q, abnormal trafficking in variant V567M, or defects in both intrinsic NHE3 function and trafficking in variant R799C. In addition, variants NHE3 R474Q and R799C failed to respond to acute dexamethasone stimulation, suggesting cells with these mutant proteins might be defective in NHE3 function during postprandial stimulation and perhaps under stressful conditions. Finally, variant R474Q was shown to exhibit an aberrant interaction with calcineurin B homologous protein (CHP), an NHE3 regulatory protein required for basal NHE3 activity. Taken together, these results demonstrate decreased transport activity in three SNPs of NHE3 and provide mechanistic insight into how these SNPs impact NHE3 function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C758-C766
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • CHP
  • Dexamethasone
  • NHE3
  • SNP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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