Polarization of the Na+, K(+)-ATPase in epithelia derived from the neuroepithelium

Int Rev Cytol. 1999;185:195-235. doi: 10.1016/s0074-7696(08)60152-7.


The neuroepithelium generates a fascinating group of epithelia. One of their intriguing properties is how they polarize the distribution of the Na+, K(+)-ATPase. Typically, this ion pump is concentrated in the basolateral membrane, but it is concentrated in the apical membranes of the retinal pigment epithelium and the epithelium of the choroid plexus. A comparison of their development with that of systemic epithelia yields insights into how cells polarize the distribution of this and other membrane proteins. The polarization of the Na+, K(+)-ATPase depends upon the interplay between different sorting signals and different types of polarity mechanisms. These include intracellular targeting signals that direct the delivery of newly synthesized proteins, and maintenance signals that stabilize proteins in the proper membrane domain. Conflicting signals appear to be arranged in a hierarchy that can be rearranged as cells respond to certain environmental stimuli. Part of this response is mediated by changes in the distribution and composition of the cortical cytoskeleton.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity
  • Choroid Plexus / enzymology
  • Ciliary Body / enzymology
  • Epithelium / enzymology
  • Epithelium / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Ion Transport
  • Kidney Tubules / enzymology
  • Kidney Tubules / growth & development
  • Models, Biological
  • Nervous System / enzymology
  • Nervous System / growth & development
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / enzymology
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / enzymology
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / chemistry
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / genetics
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / metabolism*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase