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Keywords:

  • ATP binding;
  • Na+/H+ exchanger 1 (NHE1);
  • photoaffinity labeling;
  • Sf9 cells

Na+/H+ exchanger (NHE) 1 is a member of the solute carrier superfamily, which regulates intracellular ionic homeostasis. NHE1 is known to require cellular ATP for its activity, despite there being no requirement for energy input from ATP hydrolysis. In this study, we investigated whether NHE1 is an ATP-binding protein. We designed a baculovirus vector carrying both epitope-tagged NHE1 and its cytosolic subunit CHP1, and expressed the functional NHE1–CHP1 complex on the surface of Sf9 insect cells. Using the purified complex protein consisting of NHE1 and CHP1 from Sf9 cells, we examined a photoaffinity labeling reaction with 8-azido-ATP-biotin. UV irradiation promoted the incorporation of 8-azido-ATP into NHE1, but not into CHP1, with an apparent Kd of 29.1 µm in the presence of Mg2+. The nonlabeled nucleotides ATP, GTP, TTP and CTP all inhibited this crosslinking. However, ATP had the strongest inhibitory effect, with an apparent inhibition constant (IC50) for ATP of 2.2 mm, close to the ATP concentration giving the half-maximal activation of NHE1 activity. Importantly, crosslinking was more strongly inhibited by ATP than by ADP, suggesting that ATP is dissociated from NHE1 upon ATP hydrolysis. Limited proteolysis with thrombin and deletion mutant analysis revealed that the 8-azido-ATP-binding site is within the C-terminal cytoplasmic domain of NHE1. Equilibrium dialysis with NHE1-derived peptides provided evidence that ATP directly binds to the proximal cytoplasmic region (Gly542–Pro598), which is critical for ATP-dependent regulation of NHE1. These findings suggest that NHE1 is an ATP-binding transporter. Thus, ATP may serve as a direct activator of NHE1.