Paraquat2+/H+ exchange in isolated renal brush-border membrane vesicles

Stephen H. Wright, Theresa M. Wunz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The mechanism(s) by which paraquat (1,1′-dimethyl-4,4′-bipyridinium), a divalent organic cation (OC) and proximal tubule nephrotoxicant, crosses renal cell membranes is unclear. The structurally-related monovalent OC, 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+), crosses the renal brush border via OC/H+ exchange using the same pathway by which tetraethylammonium (TEA) is transported. We examined whether paraquat shares the TEA(MPP+)/H+ exchanger by examining 14C-paraquat transport in rabbit renal BBMV. Compared to a pH equilibrium condition (pH 7.5in:7.50), an H-gradient (pH 6in:7.50) stimulated the 5 s and 60 s s uptakes of 230 μM paraquat by 51% and 108%, respectively, and this stimulation was blocked by both 20 mM unlabeled paraquat and TEA. Pre-loading BBMV with 2 mM unlabeled TEA (under conditions of pH equilibrium) stimulated by 3-fold the 60 s uptake of 120 μM paraquat and by 5 min produced a transient intravesicular accumulation of paraquat that exceeded equilibrium (2 h) uptake by 45%. The presence of 200 μM paraquat in the extravesicular solution competitively inhibited H-gradient-stimulated transport of 14C-TEA in renal BBMV, increasing the apparent Kt for TEA transport from 169 μM to 379 μM, without significantly influencing the Jmax (16.0 vs. 15.4 nmol mg-1 min-1). The calculated Ki for paraquat (presumably equal to its Kt for transport) after transport was between 160 and 220 μM (depending upon the method of estimation). Significantly, the Kt for MPP+/H exchange is 12 μM, suggesting that the affinity of the exchanger is profoundly influenced by the presence on paraquat of a second positive charge. We conclude that renal transport of paraquat involves the OC/H+ exchanger of proximal cell luminal membranes and that this pathway may play a role in the renal secretion of polyvalent organic cations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalBBA - Biomembranes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 22 1995


  • 1-Methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP)
  • Kidney
  • Organic cation
  • Tetraethylammonium (TEA)
  • Transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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