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: Transporters are ubiquitous proteins mediating the translocation of solutes across cell membranes, a biological process involved in nutrition, signaling, neurotransmission, cell communication and drug uptake or efflux. Similarly to enzymes, most transporters have a single substrate binding-site and thus their activity follows Michaelis-Menten kinetics. Substrate binding elicits a series of structural changes, which produce a transporter conformer open toward the side opposite to the one from where the substrate was originally bound. This mechanism, involving alternate outward- and inward-facing transporter conformers, has gained significant support from structural, genetic, biochemical and biophysical approaches. Most transporters are specific for a given substrate or a group of substrates with similar chemical structure, but substrate specificity and/or affinity can vary dramatically, even among members of a transporter family that show high overall amino acid sequence and structural similarity. The current view is that transporter substrate affinity or specificity is determined by a small number of interactions a given solute can make within a specific binding site. However, genetic, biochemical and in silico modeling studies with the purine transporter UapA of the filamentous ascomycete Aspergillus nidulans have challenged this dogma. This review highlights results leading to a novel concept, stating that substrate specificity, but also transport kinetics and transporter turnover, are determined by subtle intramolecular interactions between a major substrate binding site and independent outward- or cytoplasmically-facing gating domains, analogous to those present in channels. This concept is supported by recent structural evidence from several, phylogenetically and functionally distinct transporter families. The significance of this concept is discussed in relationship to the role and potential exploitation of transporters in drug action.Frontiers in Pharmacology 09/2014; 5.
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ABSTRACT: The evolutionarily broad family NCS2 (Nucleobase:Cation Symporter-2) encompasses transporters that are conserved in binding-site architecture but diverse in substrate selectivity. Putative purine transporters of this family fall into one of two homology clusters, COG2233, represented by well studied xanthine and/or uric acid permeases, and COG2252, consisting of transporters for adenine, guanine and/or hypoxanthine which remain unknown with respect to structure-function relationships. We analyzed the COG2252 genes of Escherichia coli K-12 with homology modeling, functional overexpression and mutagenesis and showed that they encode high-affinity permeases for the uptake of adenine (PurP, YicO) or guanine and hypoxanthine (YjcD, YgfQ). The two pairs of paralogs differ clearly in their substrate and ligand preferences. Of 25 putative inhibitors tested, PurP and YicO recognize with low-μΜ affinity N6-benzoyladenine, 2,6-diaminopurine, and purine, while YjcD and YgfQ recognize 1-methylguanine, 8-azaguanine, 6-thioguanine, and 6-mercaptopurine, and do not recognize any of the PurP ligands. Furthermore, the permeases PurP and YjcD were subjected to site-directed mutagenesis at highly conserved sites of transmembrane segments 1, 3, 8, 9 and 10, which have been studied also in COG2233 homologs. Residues irreplaceable for uptake activity or crucial for substrate selectivity were found at positions occupied by similar-role amino acids in the Escherichia coli xanthine- or uric acid-transporting homologs (XanQ, UacT) and predicted to be at or around the binding site. Our results support the contention that the distantly related transporters of COG2233 and COG2252 use topologically similar side chain determinants to dictate their function and the distinct purine selectivity profiles.Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2013; · 4.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Nucleobase-Ascorbate Transporter (NAT) family includes members in nearly all domains of life. Functionally characterised NAT transporters from bacteria, fungi, plants and mammals are ion-coupled symporters specific for the uptake of purines, pyrimidines and related analogues. The characterised mammalian NATs are specific for the uptake of L-ascorbic acid. In this work we identify in silico a group of fungal putative transporters, named UapD-like proteins, which represent a novel NAT subfamily. To understand the function and specificity of UapD proteins, we cloned and functionally characterized the two Aspergillus brasiliensis NAT members (named AbUapC and AbUapD) by heterologous expression in Aspergillus nidulans. AbUapC represents canonical NATs (UapC or UapA), while AbUapD represents the new subfamily. AbUapC is a high-affinity, high capacity, H+/xanthine-uric acid transporter, which can also recognize other purines with very low affinity. No apparent transport function could be detected for AbUapD. GFP-tagging showed that, unlike AbUapC which is localized in the plasma membrane, AbUapD is ER-retained and degraded in the vacuoles, a characteristic of misfolded proteins. Chimeric UapA/AbUapD molecules are also turned-over in the vacuole, suggesting that UapD includes intrinsic peptidic sequences leading to misfolding. The possible evolutionary implication of such conserved, but inactive proteins is discussed.Fungal Genetics and Biology 01/2015; · 3.26 Impact Factor