Substrate specificity of Rhbg: ammonium and methyl ammonium transport

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2010 Sep;299(3):C695-705. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00019.2010. Epub 2010 Jun 30.

Abstract

Rhbg is a nonerythroid membrane glycoprotein belonging to the Rh antigen family. In the kidney, Rhbg is expressed at the basolateral membrane of intercalated cells of the distal nephron and is involved in NH4+ transport. We investigated the substrate specificity of Rhbg by comparing transport of NH3/NH4+ with that of methyl amine (hydrochloride) (MA/MA+), often used to replace NH3/NH4+, in oocytes expressing Rhbg. Methyl amine (HCl) in solution exists as neutral methyl amine (MA) in equilibrium with the protonated methyl ammonium (MA+). To assess transport, we used ion-selective microelectrodes and voltage-clamp experiments to measure NH3/NH4+- and MA/MA+-induced intracellular pH (pH(i)) changes and whole cell currents. Our data showed that in Rhbg oocytes, NH3/NH4+ caused an inward current and decrease in pH(i) consistent with electrogenic NH4+ transport. These changes were significantly larger than in H2O-injected oocytes. The NH3/NH4+-induced current was not inhibited in the presence of barium or in the absence of Na+. In Rhbg oocytes, MA/MA+ caused an inward current but an increase (rather than a decrease) in pH(i). MA/MA+ did not cause any changes in H2O-injected oocytes. The MA/MA+-induced current and pH(i) increase were saturated at higher concentrations of MA/MA+. Amiloride inhibited MA/MA+-induced current and the increase in pH(i) in oocytes expressing Rhbg but had no effect on control oocytes. These results indicate that MA/MA+ is transported by Rhbg but differently than NH3/NH4+. The protonated MA+ is likely a direct substrate whose transport resembles that of NH4+. Transport of electroneutral MA is also enhanced by expression of Rhbg.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amiloride / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Anura
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / physiology*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Ion Transport
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Methylamines / metabolism*
  • Oocytes / drug effects
  • Oocytes / physiology
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / metabolism*
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System / physiology*
  • Sodium / metabolism

Substances

  • Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Methylamines
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Rh-Hr Blood-Group System
  • Amiloride
  • Sodium
  • methylamine