The renal electrogenic Na+:HCO3- cotransporter

Walter F. Boron, Matthias A. Hediger, Emile L. Boulpaep, Michael F. Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The electrogenic Na+:HCO3- cotransporter (symporter) is the major transporter for HCO3- reabsorption across the basolateral membrane of the renal proximal tubule and also contributes significantly to Na+ reabsorption. We expression-cloned the salamander renal electrogenic Na+:Bicarbonate Cotransporter (NBC) in Xenopus laevis oocytes. After injecting poly(A)+ RNA, fractionated poly(A)+ RNA or cRNA, we used microelectrodes to monitor membrane potential (V(m)) and intracellular pH (pHi). All solutions contained ouabain to block the Na+/K+ pump (P-ATPase). After applying 1.5% CO2/10 mmol l-1 HCO3- (pH 7.5) and allowing pHi to stabilize from the CO2-induced acidification, we removed Na+. In native oocytes or water-injected controls, removing Na+ hyperpolarized the cell by -5 mV and had no effect on pHi. In oocytes injected with poly(A)+ RNA, removing Na+ transiently depolarized the cell by -10 mV and caused pHi to decrease; both effects were blocked by 4,4'-diisothiocyano-2,2'-stilbenedisulfonate (DIDS) and required HCO3-. We enriched the signal by electrophoretic fractionation of the poly(A)+ RNA, and constructed a size-selected cDNA library in pSPORT1 using the optimal fraction. Screening the Ambystoma library yielded a single clone (aNBC). Expression was first obvious 3 days after injection of NBC cRNA. Adding CO2/HCO3- induced a large (>50 mV) and rapid hyperpolarization, followed by a partial relaxation as pHi stabilized. Subsequent Na+ removal depolarized the cell by more than 40 mV and decreased pHi. aNBC is a full-length clone with a start Met and a poly(A)+ tail; it encodes a protein with 1025 amino acids and several putative membrane-spanning domains. aNBC is the first member of a new family of Na+-linked HCO3- transporters. We used aNBC to screen a rat kidney cDNA library, and identified a full-length cDNA clone (rNBC) that encodes a protein of 1035 amino acids. rNBC is 86% identical to aNBC and can be functionally expressed in oocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-268
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • acid-base balance
  • bicarbonate transport
  • intracellular pH
  • kidney
  • proximal tubule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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