Sodium–calcium exchanger and lipid rafts in pig coronary artery smooth muscle
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Pig coronary artery smooth muscle expresses, among many other proteins, Na+-Ca²+-exchanger NCX1 and sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca²+ pump SERCA2. NCX1 has been proposed to play a role in refilling the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca²+ pool suggesting a functional linkage between the two proteins. We hypothesized that this functional linkage may require close apposition of SERCA2 and NCX1 involving regions of plasma membrane like lipid rafts. Lipid rafts are specialized membrane microdomains that appear as platforms to co-localize proteins. To determine the distribution of NCX1, SERCA2 and lipid rafts, we isolated microsomes from the smooth muscle tissue, treated them with non-ionic detergent and obtained fractions of different densities by sucrose density gradient centrifugal flotation. We examined the distribution of NCX1; SERCA2; non-lipid raft plasma membrane marker transferrin receptor protein; lipid raft markers caveolin-1, flotillin-2, prion protein, GM1-gangliosides and cholesterol; and cytoskeletal markers clathrin, actin and myosin. Distribution of markers identified two subsets of lipid rafts that differ in their components. One subset is rich in caveolin-1 and flotillin-2 and the other in GM1-gangliosides, prion protein and cholesterol. NCX1 distribution correlated strongly with SERCA2, caveolin-1 and flotillin-2, less strongly with the other membrane markers and negatively with the cytoskeletal markers. These experiments were repeated with a non-detergent method of treating microsomes with sonication at high pH and similar results were obtained. These observations are consistent with the observed functional linkage between NCX1 and SERCA2 and suggest a role for NCX1 in supplying Ca²+ for refilling the sarcoplasmic reticulum.
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