By moving chloride into epithelial cells, the Na-K-Cl cotransporter aids transcellular movement of chloride across both secretory and absorptive epithelia. Using cDNA probes from the recently identified elasmobranch secretory Na-K-Cl cotransporter (sNKCC1) (Xu, J. C., Lytle, C. Zhu, T. T., Payne, J. A., Benz, E., and Forbush, B., III (1994) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 91, 2201-2205), we have identified the human homologue. By screening cDNA libraries of a human colonic carcinoma line, T84 cell, we identified a sequence of 4115 bases from overlapping clones. The deduced protein is 1212 amino acids in length, and analysis of the primary structure indicates 12 transmembrane segments. The primary structure is 74% identical to sNKCC1, 91% identical to a mouse Na-K-Cl cotransporter (mNKCC1), 58% identical to rabbit and rat renal Na-K-Cl cotransporters (NKCC2), and 43% identical to the thiazide-sensitive Na-Cl cotransporters from flounder urinary bladder and rat kidney. Similar to sNKCC1 and mNKCC1, the 5'-end of the human colonic cotransporter is rich in G+C content. Interestingly, a triple repeat (GCG)7 occurs within the 5'-coding region and contributes to a large alanine repeat (Ala15). Two sites for N-linked glycosylation are predicted on an extracellular loop between putative transmembrane segments 7 and 8. A single potential site for phosphorylation by protein kinase A is present in the predicted cytoplasmic C-terminal domain. Northern blot analysis revealed a 7.4-7.5-kilobase transcript in T84 cells and shark rectal gland and a ~7.2- kilobase transcript in mammalian colon, kidney, lung, and stomach. Metaphase spreads from lymphocytes were probed with biotin-labeled cDNA and avidin fluorescein (the cotransporter gene was localized to human chromosome 5 at position 5q23.3). Human embryonic kidney cells stably transfected with the full-length cDNA expressed a ~170-kDa protein recognized by anti- cotransporter antibodies. Following treatment with N-glycosidase F,the molecular mass of the expressed protein was similar to that predicted for the core protein from the cDNA sequence (132-kDa) and identical to that of deglycosylated T84 cotransporter (~135-kDa). The stably transfected cells exhibited a ~15-fold greater bumetanide-sensitive 86Rb influx than control cells, and this flux required external sodium and chloride. Flux kinetics were consistent with an electroneutral cotransport of 1Na:1K:2CI. Preincubation in chloride-free media was necessary to activate fully the expressed cotransporter, suggesting a [CI]-dependent regulatory mechanism.
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