a role for the breast cancer susceptibility locus NBCn1 (SLC4A7)
Genome-wide association studies recently linked the locus for Na(+) ,HCO(3) (-) -cotransporter NBCn1 (SLC4A7) to breast cancer susceptibility, yet functional insights have been lacking. To determine whether NBCn1, by transporting HCO(3) (-) into cells, may dispose of acid produced during high metabolic activity, we studied the expression of NBCn1 and the functional impact of Na(+) ,HCO(3) (-) -cotransport in human breast cancer. We found that the plasmalemmal density of NBCn1 was 20-30% higher in primary breast carcinomas and metastases compared to matched normal breast tissue. The increase in NBCn1 density was similar in magnitude to that observed for Na(+) /H(+) -exchanger NHE1 (SLC9A1), a transporter previously implicated in cell migration, proliferation and malignancy. In primary breast carcinomas, the apparent molecular weight for NBCn1 was increased compared to normal tissue. Using pH-sensitive fluorophores, we showed that Na(+) ,HCO(3) (-) -cotransport is the predominant mechanism of acid extrusion and is inhibited 34 ± 9% by 200 µM 4,4'-diisothiocyanatostilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid in human primary breast carcinomas. At intracellular pH (pH(i) ) levels >6.6, CO(2) /HCO(3) (-) -dependent mechanisms accounted for >90% of total net acid extrusion. Na(+) /H(+) -exchange activity was prominent only at lower pH(i) -values. Furthermore, steady-state pH(i) was 0.35 ± 0.06 units lower in the absence than in the presence of CO(2) /HCO(3) (-) . In conclusion, expression of NBCn1 is upregulated in human primary breast carcinomas and metastases compared to normal breast tissue. Na(+) ,HCO(3) (-) -cotransport is a major determinant of pH(i) in breast cancer and the modest DIDS-sensitivity is consistent with NBCn1 being predominantly responsible. Hence, our results suggest a major pathophysiological role for NBCn1 that may be clinically relevant.
International Journal of Cancer, 2013, Vol 132, Issue 6, p. 1288-1299