Cysteine-scanning Mutagenesis Reveals a Highly Amphipathic, Pore-lining Membrane-spanning Helix in the Glutamate Transporter GltT
ABSTRACT The carboxyl-terminal membrane-spanning segment 8 of the glutamate transporter GltT of Bacillus stearothermophilus was studied by cysteine-scanning mutagenesis. 21 single cysteine mutants were constructed in a stretch ranging from Gly-374 to Gln-404. Two mutants were not expressed, four were inactive, and two showed severely reduced glutamate transport activity. Cysteine mutations at the other positions were well tolerated. Only the two most amino- and carboxyl-terminal mutants (G374C, I375C, S399C, and Q404C) could be labeled with the large thiol reagent fluorescein maleimide, indicating unrestricted access and a location in a loop structure outside the membrane. The labeling pattern of these mutants using membrane- permeable and -impermeable thiol reagents showed that the N and C termini of the mutated stretch are located extra- and intracellularly, respectively. Thus, the location of the membrane-spanning segment was confined to a stretch of 23 residues between Gly-374 and Ser-399. Cysteine residues in three mutants in the central part of the segment (M381C, V388C, and N391C) could be labeled with the small and flexible reagent 2-aminoethyl methanethiosulfonate hydrobromide only, suggesting accessibility via a narrow aqueous pore. When the region was modeled as an α-helix, all positions at which cysteine mutations lead to inactive or severely impaired transporters cluster on one face of this helix. The inactive mutants showed neither proton motive force-driven uptake activity nor exchange activity nor glutamate binding. The results indicate that transmembrane segment 8 forms an amphipathic α-helix. The hydrophilic face of the helix lines an aqueous pore and contains many residues that are important for activity.
Article: Loop VIII/IX of the Na+-citrate transporter CitS of Klebsiella pneumoniae folds into an amphipathic surface helix.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The sodium ion-dependent citrate transporter CitS of Klebsiella pneumoniae is a member of the 2-hydroxycarboxylate transporter (2HCT) family whose members transport divalent citrate in symport with two sodium ions. Profiles of the hydrophobic moment suggested the presence of an amphipathic helical structure in the cytoplasmic loop between transmembrane segments (TMSs) VIII and IX (the AH loop) in all members of the family. Cysteine-scanning mutagenesis was used to study the secondary structure of the AH loop. We have mutated 20 successive residues into cysteine residues, characterized each of the mutants for its transport activity, and determined the accessibility of the residues. Three of the mutants, G324C, F331C, and F332C, had very low citrate transport activity, and two others, I321C and S333C, exhibited significantly decreased activity after treatment of right-side-out membranes with membrane permeable thiol reagent N-ethylmaleimide (NEM), but not with membrane impermeable 4-acetamido-4'-maleimidylstilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid (AmdiS) and [2-(trimethylammonium)ethyl]methanethiosulfonate (MTSET). No protection against NEM was observed with citrate or sodium ions. Labeling of the cysteine residues in the 20 mutants with the fluorescent probe fluorescein 5-maleimide, in membrane vesicles with an inverted orientation, resulted in a clear periodicity in the accessibility of the residues. Residues expected to be at the hydrophobic face of the putative alpha-helix were not accessible for the label, whereas those at the hydrophilic face were easily accessed and labeled. Pretreatment of whole cells and inside-out membranes expressing the mutants with the membrane impermeable reagent AmdiS confirmed the cytoplasmic localization of the AH region. It is concluded that the loop between TMSs VIII and IX folds into an amphipathic surface helix.Biochemistry 05/2005; 44(14):5461-70. · 3.42 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Glutamate transporters are integral membrane proteins that catalyse the concentrative uptake of glutamate from the synapse to intracellular spaces by harnessing pre-existing ion gradients. In the central nervous system glutamate transporters are essential for normal development and function, and are implicated in stroke, epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases. Here we present the crystal structure of a eukaryotic glutamate transporter homologue from Pyrococcus horikoshii. The transporter is a bowl-shaped trimer with a solvent-filled extracellular basin extending halfway across the membrane bilayer. At the bottom of the basin are three independent binding sites, each cradled by two helical hairpins, reaching from opposite sides of the membrane. We propose that transport of glutamate is achieved by movements of the hairpins that allow alternating access to either side of the membrane.Nature 11/2004; 431(7010):811-8. · 36.28 Impact Factor
Article: Structural intermediates in a model of the substrate translocation path of the bacterial glutamate transporter homologue GltPh.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Excitatory amino acid transporters (EAATs) are membrane proteins responsible for reuptake of glutamate from the synaptic cleft to terminate neurotransmission and help prevent neurotoxically high, extracellular glutamate concentrations. Important structural information about these proteins emerged from crystal structures of GltPh, a bacterial homologue of EAATs, in conformations facing outward and inward. These remarkably different conformations are considered to be end points of the substrate translocation path (STP), suggesting that the transport mechanism involves major conformational rearrangements that remain uncharted. To investigate possible steps in the structural transitions of the STP between the two end-point conformations, we applied a combination of computational modeling methods (motion planning, molecular dynamics simulations, and mixed elastic network models). We found that the conformational changes in the transition involve mainly the repositioning the "transport domain" and the "trimerization domain" identified previously in the crystal structures. The two domains move in opposite directions along the membrane normal, and the transport domain also tilts by ∼17° with respect to this axis. Moreover, the TM3-4 loop undergoes a flexible, "restraining bar"-like conformational change with respect to the transport domain. As a consequence of these conformational rearrangements along the transition path we calculated a significant decrease of nearly 20% in the area of the transport-to-trimerization domain interface (TTDI). Water penetrates parts of the TTDI in the modeled intermediates but very much less in the end-point conformations. We show that these characteristics of the modeled intermediate states agree with experimental results from residue-accessibility studies in individual monomers and identify specific residues that can be used to test the proposed STP. Moreover, MD simulations of complete GltPh trimers constructed from initially identical monomer intermediates suggest that asymmetry can appear in the trimer, consonant with available experimental data showing independent transport kinetics by individual monomers in the trimers.The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 04/2012; 116(18):5372-83. · 3.70 Impact Factor