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Evolution of the Na-P-i cotransport systems

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andreas Werner


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Membrane transport systems for P-i transport are key elements in maintaining homeostasis of P-i in organisms as diverse as bacteria and human. Two Na-P-i cotransporter families with well-described functional properties in vertebrates, namely NaPi-II and NaPi-III, show conserved structural features with prokaryotic origin. A clear vertical relationship can be established among the mammalian protein family NaPi-III, a homologous system in C. elegans, the yeast system Pho89, and the bacterial P-i transporter Pit. An alternative lineage connects the mammalian NaPi-II-related transporters with homologous proteins from Caenorhabditis elegans and Vibrio cholerae. The present review focuses on the molecular evolution of the NaPi-II protein family. Preliminary results indicate that the NaPi-II homologue cloned from V. cholerae is indeed a functional Pi transporter when expressed in Xenopus oocytes. The closely related NaPi-II isoforms NaPi-IIa and NaPi-IIb are responsible for regulated epithelial Na-dependent P-i transport in all vertebrates. Most species express two different NaPi-II proteins with the exception of the flounder and Xenopus laevis, which rely on only a single isoform. Using an RT-PCR-based approach with degenerate primers, we were able to identify NaPi-II-related mRNAs in a variety of vertebrates from different families. We hypothesize that the original NaPi-IIb-related gene was duplicated early in vertebrate development. The appearance of NaPi-IIa correlates with the development of the mammalian nephron.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Werner A, Kinne RKH

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

Year: 2001

Volume: 280

Issue: 2

Pages: R301-R312

ISSN (print): 0363-6119

ISSN (electronic):