A model has been proposed for the exofacial configuration of the Glut1 glucose transporter in which eight transmembrane domains form an inner helical bundle stabilized by four outer helices. The role of transmembrane segment 12, predicted to be an outer helix in this hypothetical model, was examined by cysteine-scanning mutagenesis and the substituted cysteine accessibility method using the membrane-impermeant, sulfhydryl-specific reagent, p-chloromercuribenzenesulfonate (pCMBS). A previously characterized functional cysteine-less Glut1 molecule was used to produce 21 Glut1 point mutants by changing each residue along helix 12 to a cysteine residue. These mutants were then expressed in Xenopus oocytes, and their protein levels, functional activities, and sensitivities to pCMBS were determined. Strikingly, in contrast to all nine other predicted Glut1 transmembrane helices that have been previously examined by this method, none of the 21 helix 12 single-cysteine mutants exhibited significant inhibition of specific transport activity. Also unlike most other Glut1 transmembrane domains in which solvent-accessible residues lie along a single face of the helix, mutations in five consecutive residues predicted to lie close to the exofacial face of the membrane resulted in sensitivity to pCMBS-induced transport inhibition. These results suggest that helix 12 plays a passive stabilizing role in the structure of Glut1 and is not directly involved in the transport mechanism. Additionally, the pCMBS data indicate that the predicted exoplasmic end of helix 12 is completely exposed to the external solvent when the transporter is in its exofacial configuration.
"Cysteine-scanning mutagenesis and substituted cysteine accessibility studies implicate transmembrane segments 1 , 2 , 5 , 7 , , 8 , 10 , and 11  of Glut1 in the formation of a water-accessible cleft within the membrane. In contrast, helices 3 , 6 , 9 , and 12  appear to have limited access to the external solvent, suggesting that these segments form the outer stabilizing helices as indicated by the known bacterial MFS structures , , , . Transmembrane segment 4 of Glut1 does not appear to react with pCMBS added to the external solvent . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relative orientation and proximity of the pseudo-symmetrical inner transmembrane helical pairs 5/8 and 2/11 of Glut1 were analyzed by chemical cross-linking of di-cysteine mutants. Thirteen functional di-cysteine mutants were created from a C-less Glut1 reporter construct containing cysteine substitutions in helices 5 and 8 or helices 2 and 11. The mutants were expressed in Xenopus oocytes and the sensitivity of each mutant to intramolecular cross-linking by two homobifunctional thiol-specific reagents was ascertained by protease cleavage followed by immunoblot analysis. Five of 9 mutants with cysteine residues predicted to lie in close proximity to each other were susceptible to cross-linking by one or both reagents. None of 4 mutants with cysteine substitutions predicted to lie on opposite faces of their respective helices was susceptible to cross-linking. Additionally, the cross-linking of a di-cysteine pair (A70C/M420C, helices 2/11) predicted to lie near the exoplasmic face of the membrane was stimulated by ethylidene glucose, a non-transported glucose analog that preferentially binds to the exofacial substrate-binding site, suggesting that the binding of this ligand stimulates the closure of helices at the exoplasmic face of the membrane. In contrast, the cross-linking of a second di-cysteine pair (T158C/L325, helices 5/8), predicted to lie near the cytoplasmic face of the membrane, was stimulated by cytochalasin B, a glucose transport inhibitor that competitively inhibits substrate efflux, suggesting that this compound recruits the transporter to a conformational state in which closure of inner helices occurs at the cytoplasmic face of the membrane. This observation provides a structural explanation for the competitive inhibition of substrate efflux by cytochalasin B. These data indicate that the binding of competitive inhibitors of glucose efflux or influx induce occluded states in the transporter in which substrate is excluded from the exofacial or endofacial binding site.
PLoS ONE 02/2012; 7(2):e31412. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0031412 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"These studies revealed that transmembrane segments 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 form the glucose transport channel and its amphipathic nature suggests the possibility of an aqueous permeation pore for the transport of glucose –. The outer helices 3, 6, 9 and 12 stabilize the central channel –. Several amino acid residues important for the function of glucose transporters have been identified from mutagenesis studies, and many of these residues are conserved among the GLUT members. Noticeably, ATP is shown to regulate the GLUT1-mediated glucose transport activity, but it does not require any ATP hydrolysis –. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) is an insulin facilitated glucose transporter that plays an important role in maintaining blood glucose homeostasis. GLUT4 is sequestered into intracellular vesicles in unstimulated cells and translocated to the plasma membrane by various stimuli. Understanding the structural details of GLUT4 will provide insights into the mechanism of glucose transport and its regulation. To date, a crystal structure for GLUT4 is not available. However, earlier work from our laboratory proposed a well validated homology model for GLUT4 based on the experimental data available on GLUT1 and the crystal structure data obtained from the glycerol 3-phosphate transporter.
In the present study, the dynamic behavior of GLUT4 in a membrane environment was analyzed using three forms of GLUT4 (apo, substrate and ATP-substrate bound states). Apo form simulation analysis revealed an extracellular open conformation of GLUT4 in the membrane favoring easy exofacial binding of substrate. Simulation studies with the substrate bound form proposed a stable state of GLUT4 with glucose, which can be a substrate-occluded state of the transporter. Principal component analysis suggested a clockwise movement for the domains in the apo form, whereas ATP substrate-bound form induced an anti-clockwise rotation. Simulation studies suggested distinct conformational changes for the GLUT4 domains in the ATP substrate-bound form and favor a constricted behavior for the transport channel. Various inter-domain hydrogen bonds and switching of a salt-bridge network from E345-R350-E409 to E345-R169-E409 contributed to this ATP-mediated channel constriction favoring substrate occlusion and prevention of its release into cytoplasm. These data are consistent with the biochemical studies, suggesting an inhibitory role for ATP in GLUT-mediated glucose transport.
In the absence of a crystal structure for any glucose transporter, this study provides mechanistic details of the conformational changes in GLUT4 induced by substrate and its regulator.
PLoS ONE 12/2010; 5(12):e14217. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0014217 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"It was deduced from these structures that TMS 3, 6, 9, and 12 are not involved in substrate binding or translocation, but—as scaffolding or pillars—encircle and stabilize the inner bundle of the other helices. This notion was fully supported by cysteine-scanning mutagenesis and cysteine reagent accessibility assays of TMS 9 and 12 of GLUT1  . However, since our mutant e5.7.10 with about 15% carnitine transport relative to wild-type was still far off the 50% mark, and since our evolutionary analysis indicated interesting positions in TMS 6, 9, and 12, they were included in the second set of ETTh mutants. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ETT (originally designated as OCTN1; human gene symbol SLC22A4) and CTT (OCTN2; SLC22A5) are highly specific transporters of ergothioneine and carnitine, respectively. Despite a high degree of sequence homology, both carriers discriminate precisely between substrates: ETT does not transport carnitine, and CTT does not transport ergothioneine. Our aim was to turn ETT into a transporter for carnitine and CTT into a transporter for ergothioneine by a limited number of point mutations. From a multiple alignment of several mammalian amino acid sequences, those positions were selected for conversion that were momentously different between ETT and CTT from human but conserved among all orthologues. Mutants were expressed in 293 cells and assayed for transport of ergothioneine and carnitine. Several ETT mutants clearly catalyzed transport of carnitine, up to 35% relative to wild-type CTT. Amazingly, complementary substitutions in CTT did not provoke transport activity for ergothioneine. In similar contrast, carnitine transport by CTT mutants was abolished by very few substitutions, whereas ergothioneine transport by ETT mutants was maintained even with the construct most active in carnitine transport. To explain these results, we propose that ETT and CTT use dissimilar pathways for conformational change, in addition to incongruent substrate binding sites. In other words, carnitine is excluded from ETT by binding, and ergothioneine is excluded from CTT by turnover movement. Our data indicate amino acids critical for substrate discrimination not only in transmembrane segments 5, 7, 8, and 10, but also in segments 9 and 12 which were hitherto considered as unimportant.
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