Author(s): Lingrel JB, Orlowski J, Shull MM, Price EM
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Abstract Researchers in the past few years have successfully used molecular-genetic approaches to determine the primary structures of several P-type ATPases. The amino-acid sequences of distinct members of this class of ion-transport ATPases (Na,K-, H,K-, and Ca-ATPases) have been deduced by cDNA cloning and sequencing. The Na,K-ATPase belongs to a multiple gene family, the principal diversity apparently resulting from distinct catalytic alpha isoforms. Computer analyses of the hydrophobicity and potential secondary structure of the alpha subunits and primary sequence comparisons with homologs from various species as well as other P-type ATPases have identified common structural features. This has provided the molecular foundation for the design of models and hypotheses aimed at understanding the relationship between structure and function. Development of a hypothetical transmembrane organization for the alpha subunit and application of site-specific mutagenesis techniques have allowed significant progress to be made toward identifying amino acids involved in cardiac glycoside resistance and possibly binding. However, the complex structural and functional features of this protein indicate that extensive research is necessary before a clear understanding of the molecular basis of active cation transport is achieved. This is complicated further by the paucity of information regarding the structural and functional contributions of the beta subunit. Until such information is obtained, the proposed model and functional hypotheses should be considered judiciously. Considerable progress also has been made in characterizing the regulatory complexity involved in expression of multiple alpha-isoform and beta-subunit genes in various tissues and cells during development and in response to hormones and cations. The regulatory mechanisms appear to function at several molecular levels, involving transcriptional, posttranscriptional, translational, and posttranslational processes in a tissue- or cell-specific manner. However, much research is needed to precisely define the contributions of each of these mechanisms. Recent isolation of the genes for these subunits provides the framework for future advances in this area. Continued application of biochemical, biophysical, and molecular genetic techniques is required to provide a detailed understanding of the mechanisms involved in cation transport of this biologically and pharmacologically important enzyme.
This article was published in Prog Nucleic Acid Res Mol Biol
and referenced in Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science