Cloning and characterization of KCC3 and KCC4, new members of the cation-chloride cotransporter gene family.


The K+-Cl- cotransporters (KCCs) belong to the gene family of electroneutral cation-chloride cotransporters, which also includes two bumetanide-sensitive Na+-K+-2Cl- cotransporters and a thiazide-sensitive Na+-Cl- cotransporter. We have cloned cDNAs encoding mouse KCC3, human KCC3, and human KCC4, three new members of this gene family. The KCC3 and KCC4 cDNAs predict proteins of 1083 and 1150 amino acids, respectively. The KCC3 and KCC4 proteins are 65-71% identical to the previously characterized transporters KCC1 and KCC2, with which they share a predicted membrane topology. The four KCC proteins differ at amino acid residues within key transmembrane domains and in the distribution of putative phosphorylation sites within the amino- and carboxyl-terminal cytoplasmic domains. The expression of mouse KCC3 in Xenopus laevis oocytes reveals the expected functional characteristics of a K+Cl- cotransporter: Cl--dependent uptake of 86Rb+ which is strongly activated by cell swelling and weakly sensitive to furosemide. A direct functional comparison of mouse KCC3 to rabbit KCC1 indicates that KCC3 has a much greater volume sensitivity. The human KCC3 and KCC4 genes are located on chromosomes 5p15 and 15q14, respectively. Although widely expressed, KCC3 transcripts are the most abundant in heart and kidney, and KCC4 is expressed in muscle, brain, lung, heart, and kidney. The unexpected molecular heterogeneity of K+-Cl- cotransport has implications for the physiology and pathophysiology of a number of tissues.