European journal of biochemistry

The N-terminal portion of the main cytosolic loop mediates K+ sensitivity in the retinal rod Na+/Ca2+-K+-exchanger.

PMID 10785365


Two types of Na+/Ca2+-exchangers have been characterized in the literature: The first is the cardiac, skeletal muscle and brain type, which exchanges 1 Ca2+ for 3 Na+, the second, found in retinal photosensor cells, transports 1 Ca2+ and 1 K+ in exchange for 4 Na+. The present work describes the properties of chimeric constructs of the two exchanger types. Ca2+ gel overlay experiments have identified a high affinity (Kd in the 1 microM range) Ca2+-binding domain between Glu601 and Asp733 in the main cytosolic loop of the retinal protein, just after transmembrane domain 5. Insertion of the retinal Ca2+-binding domain in the cytosolic loop of the cardiac exchanger conferred K+-dependence to the Ca2+ uptake activity of the chimeric constructs expressed in HeLa cells. The apparent Km of the K+ effect was about 1 mM. Experiments with C-terminally truncated versions of the retinal insert indicated that the sequence between Leu643 and Asp733 was critical in mediating K+ sensitivity of the recombinant chimeras. Thus, the high affinity Ca2+-binding domain in the main cytosolic loop of the retinal exchanger may regulate the activity of the retinal protein by binding Ca2+, and by conferring to it K+ sensitivity.