Engineered pendrin protein, an anion transporter and molecular motor

Jie Tang, Jason L. Pecka, Xiaodong Tan, Kirk W. Beisel, David Z.Z. He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Pendrin and prestin both belong to a distinct anion transporter family called solute carrier protein 26A, or SLC26A. Pendrin (SLC26A4) is a chloride-iodide transporter that is found at the luminal membrane of follicular cells in the thyroid gland as well as in the endolymphatic duct and sac of the inner ear, whereas prestin (SLC26A5) is expressed in the plasma membrane of cochlear outer hair cells and functions as a unique voltage-dependent motor.Werecently identified a motif that is critical for the motor function of prestin. We questioned whether it was possible to create a chimeric pendrin protein with motor capability by integrating this motility motif from prestin. The chimeric pendrin was constructed by substituting residues 160-179 in human pendrin with residues 156-169 from gerbil prestin. Non-linear capacitance and somatic motility, two hallmarks representing prestin function, were measured from chimeric pendrin-transfected human embryonic kidney 293 cells using the voltage clamp technique and photodiode-based displacement measurement system.Weshowed that this 14-amino acid substitution from prestin was able to confer pendrin with voltage-dependent motor capability despite the amino acid sequence disparity between pendrin and prestin. The molecular mechanism that facilitates motor function appeared to be the same as prestin because the motor activity depended on the concentration of intracellular chloride and was blocked by salicylate treatment. Radioisotope-labeled formate uptake measurements showed that the chimeric pendrin protein retained the capability to transport formate, suggesting that the gain of motor function was not at the expense of its inherent transport capability. Thus, the engineered pendrin was capable of both transporting anions and generating force.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31014-31021
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
StatePublished - Sep 2 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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