PDZK1 binding and serine phosphorylation regulate subcellular trafficking of organic anion transport protein 1a1

Jo H. Choi, John W. Murray, Allan W. Wolkoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Although perturbation of organic anion transport protein (oatp) cell surface expression can result in drug toxicity, little is known regarding mechanisms regulating its subcellular distribution. Many members of the oatp family, including oatp1a1, have a COOH-terminal PDZ consensus binding motif that interacts with PDZK1, while serines upstream of this site (S634 and S635) can be phosphorylated. Using oatp1a1 as a prototypical member of the oatp family, we prepared plasmids in which these serines were mutated to glutamic acid [E634E635 (oatp1a1EE), phosphomimetic] or alanine [A634A635 (oatp1a1AA), nonphosphorylatable]. Distribution of oatp1a1AA and oatp1a1EE was largely intracellular in transfected human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293T cells. Cotransfection with a plasmid encoding PDZK1 revealed that oatp1a1AA was now expressed largely on the cell surface, while oatp1a1EE remained intracellular. To quantify these changes, studies were performed in HuH7 cells stably transfected with these oatp1a1 plasmids. These cells endogenously express PDZK1. Surface biotinylation at 4°C followed by shift to 37°C showed that oatp1a1EE internalizes quickly compared with oatp1a1AA. To examine a physiological role for phosphorylation in oatp1a1 subcellular distribution, studies were performed in rat hepatocytes exposed to extracellular ATP, a condition that stimulates serine phosphorylation of oatp1a1 via activity of a purinergic receptor. Internalization of oatp1a1 under these conditions was rapid. Thus, although PDZK1 binding is required for optimal cell surface expression of oatp1a1, phosphorylation provides a mechanism for fast regulation of the distribution of oatp1a1 between the cell surface and intracellular vesicular pools. Identification of the proteins and motor molecules that mediate these trafficking events represents an important area for future study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-393
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Biotinylation
  • Endocytosis
  • PDZ
  • Plasma membrane
  • Transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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