Cysteine-scanning analysis of helices TM8, TM9a, and TM9b and intervening loops in the YgfO xanthine permease: a carboxyl group is essential at ASP-276.
ABSTRACT Bacterial and fungal members of the ubiquitous nucleobase-ascorbate transporter (NAT/NCS2) family use the NAT signature motif, a conserved 11-amino acid sequence between amphipathic helices TM9a and TM9b, to define function and selectivity of the purine binding site. To examine the role of flanking helices TM9a, TM9b, and TM8, we employed Cys-scanning analysis of the xanthine-specific homolog YgfO from Escherichia coli. Using a functional mutant devoid of Cys residues (C-less), each amino acid residue in sequences (259)FLVVGTIYLLSVLEAVGDITATAMVSRRPIQGEEYQSRLKGGVLADGLVSVIASAV(314) and (342)TIAVMLVILGLFP(354) including these TMs (underlined) was replaced individually with Cys, except the irreplaceable Glu-272 and Asp-304, which had been studied previously. Of 67 single Cys mutants, 55 accumulate xanthine to 35-140% of the steady state observed with C-less, five (I265C, D276C, I277C, G299C, L350C) accumulate to low levels (10-20%) and seven (T278C, A279C, T280C, A281C, G305C, G351C, P354C) show negligible expression in the membrane. Extensive mutagenesis reveals that a carboxyl group is needed at Asp-276 for high activity and that D276E differs from wild type as it recognizes 8-methylxanthine (K(i) 79 μm) but fails to recognize 2-thioxanthine, 3-methylxanthine or 6-thioxanthine; bulky replacements of Ala-279 or Thr-280 and replacements of Gly-305, Gly-351, or Pro-354 impair activity or expression. Single Cys mutants V261C, A273C, G275C, and S284C are sensitive to inactivation by N-ethylmaleimide and sensitivity of G275C (IC(50) 15 μm) is enhanced in the presence of substrate. The data suggest that residues crucial for the transport mechanism cluster in two conserved motifs, at the cytoplasmic end of TM8 (EXXGDXXAT) and in TM9a (GXXXDG).
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ABSTRACT: The ubiquitous nucleobase-ascorbate transporter (NAT/NCS2) family includes more than 2,000 members, but only 15 have been characterized experimentally. Escherichia coli has 10 members, of which the uracil permease UraA and the xanthine permeases XanQ and XanP are functionally known. Of the remaining members, YgfU is closely related in sequence and genomic locus with XanQ. We analyzed YgfU and showed that it is a proton-gradient dependent, low-affinity (K(m) 0.5 mM), and high-capacity transporter for uric acid. It also shows a low capacity for transport of xanthine at 37 °C but not at 25 °C. Based on the set of positions delineated as important from our previous Cys-scanning analysis of permease XanQ, we subjected YgfU to rationally designed site-directed mutagenesis. The results show that the conserved His-37 (TM1), Glu-270 (TM8), Asp-298 (TM9), and Gln-318 and Asn-319 (TM10) are functionally irreplaceable, and Thr-100 (TM3) is essential for the uric acid selectivity because its replacement with Ala allows efficient uptake of xanthine. The key role of these residues is corroborated by the conservation pattern and homology modeling on the recently described x-ray structure of permease UraA. In addition, site-specific replacements at TM8 (S271A, M274D, V282S) impair expression in the membrane, and V320N (TM10) inactivates the permease, whereas R327G (TM10) or S426N (TM14) reduces the affinity for uric acid (4-fold increased K(m)). Our study shows that comprehensive analysis of structure-function relationships in a newly characterized transporter can be accomplished with relatively few site-directed replacements, based on the knowledge available from Cys-scanning mutagenesis of a prototypic homolog.Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2012; 287(19):15684-95. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cell migration and metastasis are key features of aggressive tumors. These processes can be difficult to study, as they often occur deep within the body of a cancer patient or an experimental animal. In vitro assays are able to model some aspects of these processes, and a number of assays have been developed to assess cancer cell motility, migration, and invasion. However, in vitro assays have inherent limitations that may miss important aspects of these processes as they occur in vivo. The chick embryo provides a powerful model for studying these processes in vivo, facilitated by the external and accessible nature of the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM), a well-vascularized tissue that surrounds the embryo. When coupled with multiple fluorescent approaches to labeling both cancer cells and the embryonic vasculature, along with image analysis tools, the chick CAM model offers cost-effective, rapid assays for studying cancer cell migration and metastasis in a physiologically-relevant, in vivo setting. Here, we present recent developments of detailed procedures for using shell-less chick embryos, coupled with fluorescent labeling of cancer cells and/or chick vasculature, to study cancer cell migration and metastasis in vivo.Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2012; 872:1-14. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Using the crystal structure of the uracil transporter UraA of Escherichia coli, we constructed a 3D model of the Aspergillus nidulans uric acid-xanthine/H(+) symporter UapA, which is a prototype member of the Nucleobase-Ascorbate Transporter (NAT) family. The model consists of 14 transmembrane segments (TMSs) divided into a core and a gate domain, the later being distinctly different from that of UraA. By implementing Molecular Mechanics (MM) simulations and quantitative structure-activity relationship (SAR) approaches, we propose a model for the xanthine-UapA complex where the substrate binding site is formed by the polar side chains of residues E356 (TMS8) and Q408 (TMS10) and the backbones of A407 (TMS10) and F155 (TMS3). In addition, our model shows several polar interactions between TMS1-TMS10, TMS1-TMS3, TMS8-TMS10, which seem critical for UapA transport activity. Using extensive docking calculations we identify a cytoplasm-facing substrate trajectory (D360, A363, G411, T416, R417, V463 and A469) connecting the proposed substrate binding site with the cytoplasm, as well as, a possible outward-facing gate leading towards the substrate major binding site. Most importantly, re-evaluation of the plethora of available and analysis of a number of herein constructed UapA mutations strongly supports the UapA structural model. Furthermore, modeling and docking approaches with mammalian NAT homologues provided a molecular rationale on how specificity in this family of carriers might be determined, and further support the importance of selectivity gates acting independently from the major central substrate binding site.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e41939. · 3.73 Impact Factor