Function of human Rh based on structure of RhCG at 2.1 A.
ABSTRACT: In humans, NH(3) transport across cell membranes is facilitated by the Rh (rhesus) family of proteins. Human Rh C glycoprotein (RhCG) forms a trimeric complex that plays an essential role in ammonia excretion and renal pH regulation. The X-ray crystallographic structure of human RhCG, determined at 2.1 A resolution, reveals the mechanism of ammonia transport. Each monomer contains 12 transmembrane helices, one more than in the bacterial homologs. Reconstituted into proteoliposomes, RhCG conducts NH(3) to raise internal pH. Models of the erythrocyte Rh complex based on our RhCG structure suggest that the erythrocytic Rh complex is composed of stochastically assembled heterotrimers of RhAG, RhD, and RhCE.
Project description:Mammalian glycosylated rhesus (Rh) proteins include the erythroid RhAG and the nonerythroid RhBG and RhCG. RhBG and RhCG are expressed in multiple tissues, including hepatocytes and the collecting duct (CD) of the kidney. Here, we expressed human RhAG, RhBG and RhCG in Xenopus oocytes (vs. H2O-injected control oocytes) and used microelectrodes to monitor the maximum transient change in surface pH (DpHS) caused by exposing the same oocyte to 5 % CO?/33 mM HCO?? (an increase) or 0.5 mM NH?/NH?? (a decrease). Subtracting the respective values for day-matched, H?O-injected control oocytes yielded channel-specific values (*). (?pH*(S))(CO?) and (-?pH*(S))(NH?) were each significantly >0 for all channels, indicating that RhBG and RhCG--like RhAG--can carry CO? and NH?. We also investigated the role of a conserved aspartate residue, which was reported to inhibit NH? transport. However, surface biotinylation experiments indicate the mutants RhBG(D178N) and RhCG(D177N) have at most a very low abundance in the oocyte plasma membrane. We demonstrate for the first time that RhBG and RhCG--like RhAG--have significant CO? permeability, and we confirm that RhAG, RhBG and RhCG all have significant NH? permeability. However, as evidenced by (?pH*(S))(CO?)/ (-?pH*(S))(NH?) values, we could not distinguish among the CO?/ NH? permeability ratios for RhAG, RhBG and RhCG. Finally, we propose a mechanism whereby RhBG and RhCG contribute to acid secretion in the CD by enhancing the transport of not only NH? but also CO? across the membranes of CD cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Rh glycoproteins (RhAG, RhBG, RhCG) are members of the Amt/Mep/Rh family which facilitate movement of ammonium across plasma membranes. Changes in ammonium transport activity following expression of Rh glycoproteins have been described in different heterologous systems such as yeasts, oocytes and eukaryotic cell lines. However, in these complex systems, a potential contribution of endogenous proteins to this function cannot be excluded. To demonstrate that Rh glycoproteins by themselves transport NH(3), human RhCG was purified to homogeneity and reconstituted into liposomes, giving new insights into its channel functional properties. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: An HA-tag introduced in the second extracellular loop of RhCG was used to purify to homogeneity the HA-tagged RhCG glycoprotein from detergent-solubilized recombinant HEK293E cells. Electron microscopy analysis of negatively stained purified RhCG-HA revealed, after image processing, homogeneous particles of 9 nm diameter with a trimeric protein structure. Reconstitution was performed with sphingomyelin, phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidic acid lipids in the presence of the C(12)E(8) detergent which was subsequently removed by Biobeads. Control of protein incorporation was carried out by freeze-fracture electron microscopy. Particle density in liposomes was a function of the Lipid/Protein ratio. When compared to empty liposomes, ammonium permeability was increased two and three fold in RhCG-proteoliposomes, depending on the Lipid/Protein ratio (1/300 and 1/150, respectively). This strong NH(3) transport was reversibly inhibited by mercuric and copper salts and exhibited a low Arrhenius activation energy. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study allowed the determination of ammonia permeability per RhCG monomer, showing that the apparent Punit(NH3) (around 1x10(-3) microm(3)xs(-1)) is close to the permeability measured in HEK293E cells expressing a recombinant human RhCG (1.60x10(-3) microm(3)xs(-1)), and in human red blood cells endogenously expressing RhAG (2.18x10(-3) microm(3)xs(-1)). The major finding of this study is that RhCG protein is active as an NH(3) channel and that this function does not require any protein partner.
Project description:The mammalian Rh (Rhesus) protein family belongs to the Amt/Mep (ammonia transporter/methylammonium permease)/Rh superfamily of ammonium transporters. Whereas RhCE, RhD and RhAG are erythroid specific, RhBG and RhCG are expressed in key organs associated with ammonium transport and metabolism. We have investigated the ammonium transport function of human RhBG and RhCG by comparing intracellular pH variation in wild-type and transfected HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney) cells and MDCK (Madin-Darby canine kidney) cells in the presence of ammonium (NH4+/NH3) gradients. Stopped-flow spectrofluorimetry analysis, using BCECF [2',7'-bis-(2-carboxyethyl)-5(6)-carboxyfluorescein] as a pH-sensitive probe, revealed that all cells submitted to inwardly or outwardly directed ammonium gradients exhibited rapid alkalinization or acidification phases respectively, which account for ammonium movements in transfected and native cells. However, as compared with wild-type cells known to have high NH3 lipid permeability, RhBG- and RhCG-expressing cells exhibited ammonium transport characterized by: (i) a five to six times greater kinetic rate-constant; (ii) a weak temperature-dependence; and (iii) reversible inhibition by mercuric chloride (IC50: 52 microM). Similarly, when subjected to a methylammonium gradient, RhBG- and RhCG-expressing cells exhibited kinetic rate constants greater than those of native cells. However, these constants were five times higher for RhBG as compared with RhCG, suggesting a difference in substrate accessibility. These results, indicating that RhBG and RhCG facilitate rapid and low-energy-dependent bi-directional ammonium movement across the plasma membrane, favour the hypothesis that these Rh glycoproteins, together with their erythroid homologue RhAG [Ripoche, Bertrand, Gane, Birkenmeier, Colin and Cartron (2005) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 101, 17222-17227] constitute a family of NH3 channels in mammalian cells.
Project description:Ammonia secretion by the collecting duct (CD) is critical for acid-base homeostasis and, when defective, causes distal renal tubular acidosis (dRTA). The Rhesus protein RhCG mediates NH(3) transport as evident from cell-free and cellular models as well as from Rhcg-null mice. Here, we investigated in a Rhcg mouse model the metabolic effects of Rhcg haploinsufficiency, the role of Rhcg in basolateral NH(3) transport, and the mechanisms of adaptation to the lack of Rhcg. Both Rhcg(+/+) and Rhcg(+/-) mice were able to handle an acute acid load, whereas Rhcg(-/-) mice developed severe metabolic acidosis with reduced ammonuria and high mortality. However, chronic acid loading revealed that Rhcg(+/-) mice did not fully recover, showing lower blood HCO(3)(-) concentration and more alkaline urine. Microperfusion studies demonstrated that transepithelial NH(3) permeability was reduced by 80 and 40%, respectively, in CDs from Rhcg(-/-) and Rhcg(+/-) mice compared with controls. Basolateral membrane permeability to NH(3) was reduced in CDs from Rhcg(-/-) mice consistent with basolateral Rhcg localization. Rhcg(-/-) responded to acid loading with normal expression of enzymes and transporters involved in proximal tubular ammoniagenesis but reduced abundance of the NKCC2 transporter responsible for medullary accumulation of ammonium. Consequently, tissue ammonium content was decreased. These data demonstrate a role for apical and basolateral Rhcg in transepithelial NH(3) transport and uncover an incomplete dRTA phenotype in Rhcg(+/-) mice. Haploinsufficiency or reduced expression of RhCG may underlie human forms of (in)complete dRTA.
Project description:African lungfishes are ammonotelic in water. They can aestivate for long periods on land during drought. During aestivation, the gills are covered with dried mucus and ammonia excretion ceases. In fishes, ammonia excretion through the gills involves Rhesus glycoproteins (RhGP/Rhgp). This study aimed to obtain the complete cDNA coding sequences of rhgp from the gills of Protopterus annectens, and to determine their branchial mRNA and protein expression levels during the induction, maintenance and arousal phases of aestivation. Three isoforms of rhgp (rhag, rhbg and rhcg) were obtained in the gills of P. annectens. Their complete cDNA coding sequences ranged between 1311 and 1398 bp, coding for 436 to 465 amino acids with estimated molecular masses between 46.8 and 50.9 kDa. Dendrogramic analyses indicated that Rhag was grouped closer to fishes, while Rhbg and Rhcg were grouped closer to tetrapods. During the induction phase, the protein abundance of Rhag, but not its transcript level, was down-regulated in the gills, suggesting that there could be a decrease in the release of ammonia from the erythrocytes to the plasma. Furthermore, the branchial transcript levels of rhbg and rhcg decreased significantly, in preparation for the subsequent shutdown of gill functions. During the maintenance phase, the branchial expression levels of rhag/Rhag, rhbg/Rhbg and rhcg/Rhcg decreased significantly, indicating that their transcription and translation were down-regulated. This could be part of an overall mechanism to shut down branchial functions and save metabolic energy used for transcription and translation. It could also be regarded as an adaptive response to stop ammonia excretion. During the arousal phase, it is essential for the lungfish to regain the ability to excrete ammonia. Indeed, the protein abundance of Rhag, Rhbg and Rhcg recovered to the corresponding control levels after 1 day or 3 days of recovery from 6 months of aestivation.
Project description:The water channel aquaporin 1 (AQP1) and certain Rh-family members are permeable to CO(2) and NH(3). Here, we use changes in surface pH (pH(S)) to assess relative CO(2) vs. NH(3) permeability of Xenopus oocytes expressing members of the AQP or Rh family. Exposed to CO(2) or NH(3), AQP1 oocytes exhibit a greater maximal magnitude of pH(S) change (DeltapH(S)) compared with day-matched controls injected with H(2)O or with RNA encoding SGLT1, NKCC2, or PepT1. With CO(2), AQP1 oocytes also have faster time constants for pH(S) relaxation (tau(pHs)). Thus, AQP1, but not the other proteins, conduct CO(2) and NH(3). Oocytes expressing rat AQP4, rat AQP5, human RhAG, or the bacterial Rh homolog AmtB also exhibit greater DeltapH(S)(CO(2)) and faster tau(pHs) compared with controls. Oocytes expressing AmtB and RhAG, but not AQP4 or AQP5, exhibit greater DeltapH(S)(NH(3)) values. Only AQPs exhibited significant osmotic water permeability (P(f)). We computed channel-dependent (*) DeltapH(S) or P(f) by subtracting values for H(2)O oocytes from those of channel-expressing oocytes. For the ratio DeltapH(S)(CO(2))*/P(f)*, the sequence was AQP5 > AQP1 congruent with AQP4. For DeltapH(S)(CO(2))*/DeltapH(S)(NH(3))*, the sequence was AQP4 congruent with AQP5 > AQP1 > AmtB > RhAG. Thus, each channel exhibits a characteristic ratio for indices of CO(2) vs. NH(3) permeability, demonstrating that, like ion channels, gas channels can exhibit selectivity.
Project description:The mammalian Rh glycoproteins belong to the solute transporter family SLC42 and include RhAG, present in red blood cells, and two non-erythroid members RhBG and RhCG that are expressed in various tissues, including kidney, liver, skin and the GI tract. The Rh proteins in the red blood cell form an "Rh complex" made up of one D-subunit, one CE-subunit and two RhAG subunits. The Rh complex has a well-known antigenic effect but also contributes to the stability of the red cell membrane. RhBG and RhCG are related to the NH4(+) transporters of the yeast and bacteria but their exact function is yet to be determined. This review describes the expression and molecular properties of these membrane proteins and their potential role as NH3/NH4(+) and CO2 transporters. The likelihood that these proteins transport gases such as CO2 or NH3 is novel and significant. The review also describes the physiological importance of these proteins and their relevance to human disease.
Project description:The Rhesus (Rh) proteins are a family of integral membrane proteins found throughout the animal kingdom that also occur in a number of lower eukaryotes. The significance of Rh proteins derives from their presence in the human red blood cell membrane, where they constitute the second most important group of antigens used in transfusion medicine after the ABO group. Rh proteins are related to the ammonium transport (Amt) protein family and there is considerable evidence that, like Amt proteins, they function as ammonia channels. We have now solved the structure of a rare bacterial homologue (from Nitrosomonas europaea) of human Rh50 proteins at a resolution of 1.3 A. The protein is a trimer, and analysis of its subunit interface strongly argues that all Rh proteins are likely to be homotrimers and that the human erythrocyte proteins RhAG and RhCE/D are unlikely to form heterooligomers as previously proposed. When compared with structures of bacterial Amt proteins, NeRh50 shows several distinctive features of the substrate conduction pathway that support the concept that Rh proteins have much lower ammonium affinities than Amt proteins and might potentially function bidirectionally.
Project description:Ammonium, stemming from renal ammoniagenesis, is a major urinary proton buffer and is excreted along the collecting duct. This process depends on the concomitant secretion of ammonia by the ammonia channel RhCG and of protons by the vacuolar-type proton-ATPase pump. Thus, urinary ammonium content and urinary acidification are tightly linked. However, mice lacking Rhcg excrete more alkaline urine despite lower urinary ammonium, suggesting an unexpected role of Rhcg in urinary acidification. RhCG and the B1 and B2 proton-ATPase subunits could be co-immunoprecipitated from kidney. In ex vivo microperfused cortical collecting ducts (CCD) proton-ATPase activity was drastically reduced in the absence of Rhcg. Conversely, overexpression of RhCG in HEK293 cells resulted in higher proton secretion rates and increased B1 proton-ATPase mRNA expression. However, in kidneys from Rhcg-/- mice the expression of only B1 and B2 subunits was altered. Immunolocalization of proton-ATPase subunits together with immuno-gold detection of the A proton-ATPase subunit showed similar localization and density of staining in kidneys from Rhcg+/+ and Rhcg-/-mice. In order to test for a reciprocal effect of intercalated cell proton-ATPases on Rhcg activity, we assessed Rhcg and proton-ATPase activities in microperfused CCD from Atp6v1b1-/- mice and showed reduced proton-ATPase activity without altering Rhcg activity. Thus, RhCG and proton-ATPase are located within the same cellular protein complex. RhCG may modulate proton-ATPase function and urinary acidification, whereas proton-ATPase activity does not affect RhCG function. This mechanism may help to coordinate ammonia and proton secretion beyond physicochemical driving forces.
Project description:Four patients with overhydrated cation leak stomatocytosis (OHSt) exhibited the heterozygous RhAG missense mutation F65S. OHSt erythrocytes were osmotically fragile, with elevated Na and decreased K contents and increased cation channel-like activity. Xenopus oocytes expressing wild-type RhAG and RhAG F65S exhibited increased ouabain and bumetanide-resistant uptake of Li(+) and (86)Rb(+), with secondarily increased (86)Rb(+) influx sensitive to ouabain and to bumetanide. Increased RhAG-associated (14)C-methylammonium (MA) influx was severely reduced in RhAG F65S-expressing oocytes. RhAG-associated influxes of Li(+), (86)Rb(+), and (14)C-MA were pharmacologically distinct, and Li(+) uptakes associated with RhAG and RhAG F65S were differentially inhibited by NH(4)(+) and Gd(3+). RhAG-expressing oocytes were acidified and depolarized by 5 mM bath NH(3)/NH(4)(+), but alkalinized and depolarized by subsequent bath exposure to 5 mM methylammonium chloride (MA/MA(+)). RhAG F65S-expressing oocytes exhibited near-wild-type responses to NH(4)Cl, but MA/MA(+) elicited attenuated alkalinization and strong hyperpolarization. Expression of RhAG or RhAG F65S increased steady-state cation currents unaltered by bath Li(+) substitution or bath addition of 5 mM NH(4)Cl or MA/MA(+). These oocyte studies suggest that 1) RhAG expression increases oocyte transport of NH(3)/NH(4)(+) and MA/MA(+); 2) RhAG F65S exhibits gain-of-function phenotypes of increased cation conductance/permeability, and loss-of-function phenotypes of decreased and modified MA/MA(+) transport, and decreased NH(3)/NH(4)(+)-associated depolarization; and 3) RhAG transports NH(3)/NH(4)(+) and MA/MA(+) by distinct mechanisms, and/or the substrates elicit distinct cellular responses. Thus, RhAG F65S is a loss-of-function mutation for amine transport. The altered oocyte intracellular pH, membrane potential, and currents associated with RhAG or RhAG F65S expression may reflect distinct transport mechanisms.