Relative CO(2)/NH(3) selectivities of mammalian aquaporins 0-9

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2013 May 15;304(10):C985-94. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00033.2013. Epub 2013 Mar 13.


Previous work showed that aquaporin 1 (AQP1), AQP4-M23, and AQP5 each has a characteristic CO(2)/NH(3) and CO(2)/H(2)O permeability ratio. The goal of the present study is to characterize AQPs 0-9, which traffic to the plasma membrane when heterologously expressed in Xenopus oocytes. We use video microscopy to compute osmotic water permeability (P(f)) and microelectrodes to record transient changes in surface pH (ΔpH(S)) caused by CO(2) or NH(3) influx. Subtracting respective values for day-matched, H(2)O-injected control oocytes yields the channel-specific values P(f)* and ΔpH(S)*. We find that P(f)* is significantly >0 for all AQPs tested except AQP6. (ΔpH(S)*)(CO(2)) is significantly >0 for AQP0, AQP1, AQP4-M23, AQP5, AQP6, and AQP9. (ΔpH(S)*)(NH(3)) is >0 for AQP1, AQP3, AQP6, AQP7, AQP8, and AQP9. The ratio (ΔpH(S)*)(CO(2))/P(f)* falls in the sequence AQP6 (∞) > AQP5 > AQP4-M23 > AQP0 ≅ AQP1 ≅ AQP9 > others (0). The ratio (ΔpH(S)*)(NH(3))/P(f)* falls in the sequence AQP6 (∞) > AQP3 ≅ AQP7 ≅ AQP8 ≅ AQP9 > AQP1 > others (0). Finally, the ratio (ΔpH(S)*)(CO(2))/(-ΔpH(S)*)(NH(3)) falls in the sequence AQP0 (∞) ≅ AQP4-M23 ≅ AQP5 > AQP6 > AQP1 > AQP9 > AQP3 (0) ≅ AQP7 ≅ AQP8. The ratio (ΔpH(S)*)(CO(2))/(-ΔpH(S)*)(NH(3)) is indeterminate for both AQP2 and AQP4-M1. In summary, we find that mammalian AQPs exhibit a diverse range of selectivities for CO(2) vs. NH(3) vs. H(2)O. As a consequence, by expressing specific combinations of AQPs, cells could exert considerable control over the movements of each of these three substances.

Keywords: Xenopus oocytes; gas channels; gas transport; membrane protein; water transport.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Ammonia / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Aquaporins / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Oocytes / physiology*
  • Osmosis
  • Permeability
  • Rats
  • Water / metabolism
  • Xenopus laevis / metabolism*


  • Aquaporins
  • Water
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Ammonia