Expression of a mammalian Na–H exchanger in muscle fibres of the giant barnacle


It is now well established that the internal pH (pHi) of mammalian cells is regulated by means of a plasma membrane transport system that exchanges extracellular Na+ for intracellular H+ (ref. 1). Furthermore, modulation of the activity of the Na–H exchanger seems to have a crucial role in the action of various mitogens and growth factors2–4. The possibility that such a mammalian Na–H exchanger might be efficiently expressed in a giant invertebrate cell was suggested to us by recent results of Barnard5 and Miledi and colleagues6,7, who demonstrated in frog oocytes the expression of various plasma membrane channels that presumably were encoded by the mammalian messenger RNA with which the oocytes had been injected. We used muscle fibres of the giant barnacle, which normally have no demonstrable Na–H exchanger activity8, and report here that, when injected with poly(A)+ RNA isolated from rabbit liver, the muscle fibres express a Na–H exchanger. No such expression is observed, however, when the injected material is pretreated with ribonuclease A. As hepatocytes are known to possess a Na–H exchanger9, the most straightforward interpretation of our data is that a mammalian Na–H exchanger has been expressed in the muscle fibre of an invertebrate.

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Knakal, R., Summers, W., Cragoe, E. et al. Expression of a mammalian Na–H exchanger in muscle fibres of the giant barnacle. Nature 315, 756–758 (1985).

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