Nerve growth factor inhibits Na+/H+ exchange and HCO3- absorption through parallel phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-mTOR and ERK pathways in thick ascending limb

David W. Good, Thampi George, Bruns A. Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In the medullary thick ascending limb, inhibiting the basolateral NHE1 Na+/H+ exchanger with nerve growth factor (NGF) induces actin cytoskeleton remodeling that secondarily inhibits apical NHE3 and transepithelial HCO3- absorption. The inhibition by NGF is mediated 50% through activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). Here we examined the signaling pathway responsible for the remainder of the NGF-induced inhibition. Inhibition of HCO3- absorption was reduced 45% by the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitors wortmannin or LY294002 and 50% by rapamycin, a specific inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a downstream effector of PI3K. The combination of a PI3K inhibitor plus rapamycin did not cause a further reduction in the inhibition by NGF. In contrast, the combination of a PI3K inhibitor plus the MEK/ ERK inhibitor U0126 completely eliminated inhibition by NGF. Rapamycin decreased NGF-induced inhibition of basolateral NHE1 by 45%. NGF induced a 2-fold increase in phosphorylation of Akt, a PI3K target linked to mTOR activation, and a 2.2-fold increase in the activity of p70 S6 kinase, a downstream effector of mTOR. p70 S6 kinase activation was blocked by wortmannin and rapamycin, consistent with PI3K, mTOR, and p70 S6 kinase in a linear pathway. Rapamycin-sensitive inhibition of NHE1 by NGF was associated with an increased level of phosphorylated mTOR in the basolateral membrane domain. These findings indicate that NGF inhibits HCO3- absorption in the medullary thick ascending limb through the parallel activation of PI3K-mTOR and ERK signaling pathways, which converge to inhibit NHE1. The results identify a role for mTOR in the regulation of Na+/H+ exchange activity and implicate NHE1 as a possible downstream effector contributing to mTOR's effects on cell growth, proliferation, survival, and tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26602-26611
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 26 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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