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The Na,K-ATPase is an ion-translocating transmembrane protein that actively maintains the electrochemical gradients for Na+ and K+ across the plasma membrane. The functional protein is a heterodimer comprising a catalytic alpha-subunit (four isoforms) and an ancillary beta-subunit (three isoforms). Mutations in the alpha2-subunit have recently been implicated in familial hemiplegic migraine type 2, but almost no thorough studies of the functional consequences of these mutations have been provided. We investigated the functional properties of the mutations L764P and W887R in the human Na,K-ATPase alpha2-subunit upon heterologous expression in Xenopus oocytes. No Na,K-ATPase-specific pump currents could be detected in cells expressing these mutants. The binding of radiolabelled [3H]ouabain to intact cells suggested that this could be due to a lack of plasma membrane expression. However, plasma membrane isolation showed that the mutated pumps are well expressed at the plasma membrane. 86Rb+-flux and ATPase activity measurements demonstrated that the mutants are inactive. Therefore, the primary disease-causing mechanism is loss-of-function of the Na,K-ATPase alpha2-isoform.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochim Biophys Acta

Publication Date





61 - 68


Humans, Migraine with Aura, Mutation, Oocytes, Ouabain, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase, Tritium