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 xanthine permease XanQ of Escherichia coli is used as a study prototype for function-structure analysis of the ubiquitous nucleobase-ascorbate transporter (NAT/NCS2) family. Our previous mutagenesis study of polar residues of XanQ has shown that Asn-93 at the middle of putative TM3 is a determinant of substrate affinity and specificity. To study the role of TM3 in detail we employed Cys-scanning mutagenesis. Using a functional mutant devoid of Cys residues (C-less), each amino acid residue in sequence 79-107 (YGIVGSGLLSIQSVNFSFVTVMIALGSSM) including TM3 (underlined) and flanking sequences was replaced individually with Cys. Of 29 single-Cys mutants, 20 accumulate xanthine to 40-110% of the steady state observed with C-less, six (S88C, F94C, A102C, G104C, S106C) accumulate to low levels (10-30%) and three (G83C, G85C, N93C) are inactive. Extensive mutagenesis reveals that Gly-83 and, to a lesser extent, Gly-85, are crucial for expression in the membrane. Replacements of Asn-93 disrupt affinity (Thr) or permit recognition of 8-methylxanthine which is not a wild-type ligand (Ala, Ser, Asp) and utilization of uric acid which is not a wild-type substrate (Ala, Ser). Replacements of Phe-94 impair affinity for 2-thio and 6-thioxanthine (Tyr) or 3-methylxanthine (Ile). Single-Cys mutants S84C, L86C, L87C, and S95C are highly sensitive to inactivation by N-ethylmaleimide. Our data reveal that key residues of TM3 cluster in two conserved sequence motifs, (83)GSGLL(87) and (93)NFS(95), and highlight the importance of Asn-93 and Phe-94 in substrate recognition and specificity; these findings are supported by structural modeling on the recently described x-ray structure of the uracil-transporting homolog UraA.Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2011; 286(45):39595-605. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The nucleobase-ascorbate transporter or nucleobase-cation symporter-2 (NAT/NCS2) family is one of the five known families of transporters that use nucleobases as their principal substrates and the only one that is evolutionarily conserved and widespread in all major taxa of organisms. The family is a typical paradigm of a group of related transporters for which conservation in sequence and overall structure correlates with high functional variations between homologs. Strikingly, the human homologs fail to recognize nucleobases or related cytotoxic compounds. This fact allows important biomedical perspectives for translation of structure-function knowledge on this family to the rational design of targeted antimicrobial purine-related drugs. To date, very few homologs have been characterized experimentally in detail and only two, the xanthine permease XanQ and the uric acid/xanthine permease UapA, have been studied extensively with site-directed mutagenesis. Recently, the high-resolution structure of a related homolog, the uracil permease UraA, has been solved for the first time with crystallography. In this review, I summarize current knowledge and emphasize how the systematic Cys-scanning mutagenesis of XanQ, in conjunction with existing biochemical and genetic evidence for UapA and the x-ray structure of UraA, allow insight on the structure-function and evolutionary relationships of this important group of transporters. The review is organized in three parts referring to (I) the theory of use of Cys-scanning approaches in the study of membrane transporter families, (II) the state of the art with experimental knowledge and current research on the NAT/NCS2 family, (III) the perspectives derived from the Cys-scanning analysis of XanQ.International journal of biochemistry and molecular biology. 01/2012; 3(3):250-72.
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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