Expanding the role of NHERF, a PDZ-domain containing protein adapter, to growth regulation

Oncogene. 2001 Oct 1;20(44):6309-14. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1204774.


NHERF (Na+/H+ exchanger regulatory factor or NHERF-1) and E3KARP (NHE3 kinase A regulatory protein or NHERF-2) are structurally related protein adapters that are highly expressed in epithelial tissues. NHERF proteins contain two tandem PDZ domains and a C-terminal sequence that binds several members of the ERM (ezrin-radixin-moesin) family of membrane-cytoskeletal adapters. Although identified as a regulator of NHE3, recent evidence points to a broadening role for NHERF in the function, localization and/or turnover of G-protein coupled receptors, platelet-derived growth factor receptor and ion transporters such as CFTR, Na/Pi cotransporter, Na/HCO3 cotransporter and Trp (calcium) channels. NHERF also recruits non-membrane proteins such as the c-Yes/YAP-65 complex, members of the phospholipase Cbeta family and the GRK6A protein kinase to apical surface of polarized epithelial cells where they regulate or respond to membrane signals. While two distinct models have been proposed for NHERF's role in signal transduction, the common theme is NHERF's ability to bring together membrane and non-membrane proteins to regulate cell metabolism and growth. NHERF overexpression in human breast cancers and mutations in NHERF targets, such as CFTR and merlin, the product of Neurofibromatosis NF2 tumor suppressor gene, that impair NHERF binding suggest that aberrant NHERF function contributes to human disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phosphoproteins / chemistry*
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Phosphoproteins / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers


  • Phosphoproteins
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers
  • sodium-hydrogen exchanger regulatory factor