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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Guangping Chen, Emory University School of Medicine, Renal Division, WMRB Room 338, 1639 Pierce Drive, NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA. Phone: 404-727-7494. Fax: 404-727-3425. Email: gchen3@emory.edu

We greatly thank Dr. Stephen Leppla for providing furin manipulated CHO cells and Drs. Otto Fröhlich and Janet Klein for critical reading of this manuscript.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by AHA Beginning Grant-In-Aid 0765202B (to G.C), Emory URC grant 255012 (to G.C), and NIH Grants P01-DK61521 (to J.M.S. and D.C.E.), R01-DK41707 (to J.M.S), R37-DK37963 (to D.C.E.).


  • proteolysis
  • membrane protein
  • urea transport
  • trafficking

The N-Terminal 81-aa Fragment is Critical for UT-A1 Urea Transporter Bioactivity


Journal Title:

Journal of Epithelial Biology & Pharmacology


Volume 2010, Number 3


, Pages 34-39

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


The serine protease, furin, is involved in the activation of a number of proteins most notably epithelial sodium channels (ENaC). The urea transporter UT-A1, located in the kidney inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD), is important for urine concentrating ability. UT-A1's amino acid sequence has a consensus furin cleavage site (RSKR) in the N-terminal region. Despite the putative cleavage site, we find that UT-A1, either from the cytosolic or cell surface pool, is not cleaved by furin in CHO cells. This result was further confirmed by an inability of furin to cleave in vitro an 35S-labeled UT-A1 or the 126 N-terminal UT-A1 fragment. Functionally, mutation of the furin site (R78A, R81A) does not affect UT-A1 urea transport activity. However, deletion of the 81-aa N-terminal portion does not affect UT-A1 cell surface trafficking, but seriously impair UT-A1 urea transport activity. Our results indicate that UT-A1 maturation and activation does not require furin-dependent cleavage. The N-terminal 81-aa fragment is required for proper UT-A1 urea transport activity, but its effect is not through changing UT-A1 membrane trafficking.

Copyright information:

© Chen et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/).

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