Two histidine residues in the juxta-membrane cytoplasmic domain of Na +/H+ exchanger isoform 3 (NHE3) determine the set point

B. Cha, S. Oh, J. Shanmugaratnam, M. Donowitz, C. C. Yun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Histidine residues in Na+/H+ exchangers are believed to participate in proton binding and influence the Na+/H+ exchanger activity. In the present study, the function of three highly conserved histidines in the juxtamembrane cytoplasmic domain of NHE3 was studied. His-479, His-485, and His-499 were mutated to Leu, Gln or Asp and expressed in an Na+/H+ exchanger null cell line and functional consequences on Na+/H+ exchange kinetics were characterized. None of the histidines were essential for NHE3 activity, with all mutated NHE3 resulting in functional exchangers. However, the mutation in His-475 and His-499 significantly lowered NHE3 transport activity, whereas the mutation in H485 showed no apparent effect. In addition, the pH profiles of the H479 and H499 mutants were shifted to a more acidic region, and lowered its set point, the intracellular pH value above which the Na+/H+ exchanger becomes inactive, by ∼0.3-0.6 pH units. The changes in set point by the mutations were further shifted to more acidic values by ATP depletion, indicating that the mechanism by which the mutations on the histidine residues altered the NHE3 set point differs from that caused by ATP depletion. We suggest that His-479 and His-499 are part of the H+ sensor, which is involved in determining the sensitivity to the intracellular H+ concentration and Na+/H+ exchange rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Membrane Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Histidine
  • Na/H exchanger
  • Set point
  • pH sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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