Functional characterization of the NCC27 nuclear protein in stable transfected CHO-K1 cells

Publication Type:
Journal Article
FASEB Journal, 2000, 14 (9), pp. 1171 - 1178
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NCC27 belongs to a family of small, highly conserved, organellar ion channel proteins. It is constitutively expressed by native CHO-K1 and dominantly localized to the nucleus and nuclear membrane. When CHO-K1 cells are transfected with NCC27-expressing constructs, synthesized proteins spill over into the cytoplasm and ion channel activity can then be detected on the plasma as well as nuclear membrane. This provided a unique opportunity to directly compare electrophysiological characteristics of the one cloned channel, both on the nuclear and cytoplasmic membranes. At the same time, as NCC27 is unusually small for an ion channel protein, we wished to directly determine whether it is a membrane-resident channel in its own right. In CHO- K1 cells transfected with epitope-tagged NCC27 constructs, we have demonstrated that the NCC27 conductance is chloride dependent and that the electrophysiological characteristics of the channels are essentially identical whether expressed on plasma or nuclear membranes. In addition, we show that a monoclonal antibody directed at an epitope tag added to NCC27 rapidly inhibits the ability of the expressed protein to conduct chloride, but only when the antibody has access to the tag epitope. By selectively tagging either the amino or carboxyl terminus of NCC27 and varying the side of the membrane from which we record channel activity, we have demonstrated conclusively that NCC27 is a transmembrane protein that directly forms part of the ion channel and, further, that the amino terminus projects outward and the carboxyl terminus inward. We conclude that despite its relatively small size, NCC27 must form an integral part of an ion channel complex.
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