Role of NHERF and scaffolding proteins in proximal tubule transport.

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Eukaryotic cells coordinate specific responses to hormones and growth factors by spatial and temporal organization of "signaling components." Through the formation of multiprotein complexes, cells are able to generate "signaling components" that transduce hormone signals through proteins, such as PSD-95/Dlg/ZO-1(PDZ)-containing proteins that associate by stable and dynamic interactions. The PDZ homology domain is a common protein interaction domain in eukaryotes and with greater than 500 PDZ domains identified, it is the most abundant protein interaction domain in eukaryotic cells. The NHERF (sodium hydrogen exchanger regulatory factor) proteins are PDZ domain-containing proteins that play an important role in maintaining and regulating cell function. NHERF-1 was initially identified as a brush border membrane-associated phosphoprotein essential for the cAMP/PKA-induced inhibition of the sodium hydrogen exchanger isoform 3 (NHE3). Mouse, rabbit and human renal proximal tubules also express NHERF-2 (E3KARP), a structurally related protein, which in model cell systems also binds NHE3 and mediates its inhibition by cAMP. PDZK1 (NHERF-3) and IKEPP (NHERF-4) were later identified and found to have similar homology domains, leading to their recent reclassification. Although studies have revealed similar binding partners and overlapping functions for the NHERF proteins, it is clear that there is a significant amount of specificity between them. This review focuses primarily on NHERF-1, as the prototypical PDZ protein and will give a brief summary of its role in phosphate transport and the development of some forms of nephrolithiasis.





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Cunningham, Rochelle, Rajatsubhra Biswas, Deborah Steplock, Shirish Shenolikar and Edward Weinman (2010). Role of NHERF and scaffolding proteins in proximal tubule transport. Urological research, 38(4). pp. 257–262. 10.1007/s00240-010-0294-1 Retrieved from

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Shirish Shenolikar

Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Protein phosphorylation controls a wide range of physiological processes in mammalian tissues. Phosphorylation state of cellular proteins is controlled by the opposing actions of protein kinases and phosphatases that are regulated by hormones, neurotransmitters, growth factors and other environmental cues. Our research attempts to understand the communication between protein kinases and phosphatases that dictates cellular protein phosphorylation and the cell's response to hormones. Over the last decade, our work has provided critical information about the role of protein phosphatase-1 (PP1) in controlling synaptic function, cell stress, gene expression and growth. We have generated a large repertoire of reagents to decipher PP1's role in signaling pathways in mammalian cells and tissues. Emerging evidence suggests that in many cells, PP1 activity is fine tuned by the protein, inhibitor-1 (I-1). A major focus of our research is to elucidate the role of I-1 in kinase-phosphatase cross-talk and impact of the altered I-1 gene expression seen in several human diseases. Our studies showed that recognition of cellular substrates by PP1 is also directed by its association with a variety of targeting subunits that are themselves also subject to physiological control. Thus, the overall focus of our research is to define the physiological mechanisms that regulate PP1 functions relevant to human health and disease.

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