[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurotransmitter:sodium symporters (NSS) have a critical role in regulating neurotransmission and are targets for psychostimulants, anti-depressants and other drugs. Whereas the non-homologous glutamate transporters mediate chloride conductance, in the eukaryotic NSS chloride is transported together with the neurotransmitter. In contrast, transport by the bacterial NSS family members LeuT, Tyt1 and TnaT is chloride independent. The crystal structure of LeuT reveals an occluded binding pocket containing leucine and two sodium ions, and is highly relevant for the neurotransmitter transporters. However, the precise role of chloride in neurotransmitter transport and the location of its binding site remain elusive. Here we show that introduction of a negatively charged amino acid at or near one of the two putative sodium-binding sites of the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) transporter GAT-1 from rat brain (also called SLC6A1) renders both net flux and exchange of GABA largely chloride independent. In contrast to wild-type GAT-1, a marked stimulation of the rate of net flux, but not of exchange, was observed when the internal pH was lowered. Equivalent mutations introduced in the mouse GABA transporter GAT4 (SLC6A11) and the human dopamine transporter DAT (SLC6A3) also result in chloride-independent transport, whereas the reciprocal mutations in LeuT and Tyt1 render substrate binding and/or uptake by these bacterial NSS chloride dependent. Our data indicate that the negative charge, provided either by chloride or by the transporter itself, is required during binding and translocation of the neurotransmitter, probably to counterbalance the charge of the co-transported sodium ions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The sodium- and chloride-dependent electrogenic gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transporter GAT-1, which transports two sodium ions together with GABA, is essential for synaptic transmission by this neurotransmitter. Although lithium by itself does not support GABA transport, it has been proposed that lithium can replace sodium at one of the binding sites but not at the other. To identify putative lithium selectivity determinants, we have mutated the five GAT-1 residues corresponding to those whose side chains participate in the sodium binding sites Na1 and Na2 of the bacterial leucine-transporting homologue LeuT(Aa). In GAT-1 and in most other neurotransmitter transporter family members, four of these residues are conserved, but aspartate 395 replaces the Na2 residue threonine 354. At varying extracellular sodium, lithium stimulated sodium-dependent transport currents as well as [3H]GABA uptake in wild type GAT-1. The extent of this stimulation was dependent on the GABA concentration. In mutants in which aspartate 395 was replaced by threonine or serine, the stimulation of transport by lithium was abolished. Moreover, these mutants were unable to mediate the lithium leak currents. This phenotype was not observed in mutants at the four other positions, although their transport properties were severely impacted. Thus at saturating GABA, the site corresponding to Na2 behaves as a low affinity sodium binding site where lithium can replace sodium. We propose that GABA participates in the other sodium binding site, just like leucine does in the Na1 site, and that at limiting GABA, this site determines the apparent sodium affinity of GABA transport.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2006; 281(31):22092-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: GAT-1 is a sodium- and chloride-dependent gamma-aminobutyric acid transporter and is the first identified member of a family of transporters that maintain low synaptic neurotransmitter levels and thereby enable efficient synaptic transmission. Because transmembrane domains 1 and 3 contain amino acid residues important for transport activity, we hypothesized that these domains may participate in the formation of the binding pocket of the transporter. Pairwise substitutions have been introduced in several predicted transmembrane domains and in the first extracellular loop of GAT-1. In the double mutant W68C/I143C, in which the cysteines were introduced at locations at the extracellular part of transmembrane domains 1 and 3, respectively, approximately 70% inhibition of transport was observed by cadmium with an IC50 of approximately 10 microm. This inhibition was not observed in the corresponding single mutants and also not in > 10 other double mutants, except for V67C/I143C, where the half-maximal effect was obtained at approximately 50 microm. The inhibition by cadmium was only observed when the cysteine pairs were introduced in the same polypeptide. Our results suggest that transmembrane domains 1 and 3 come in close proximity within the transporter monomer.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2005; 280(27):25512-6. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The (Na+ + Cl-)-coupled gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transporter GAT-1 keeps synaptic levels of this neurotransmitter low and thereby enables efficient GABA-ergic transmission. Extracellular loops (III, IV, and V) have been shown to contain determinants for GABA selectivity and affinity. Here we analyze the role of extracellular loop IV in transport by cysteine scanning mutagenesis. Fourteen residues of this loop have been replaced by cysteine. GABA transport by eight of the fourteen mutants is markedly more sensitive to inhibition by membrane-impermeant methane thiosulfate reagents than wild-type. Mutant A364C has high activity and is potently inhibited by the sulfhydryl reagent. GABA transport by the A364C/C74A double mutant, where the only externally accessible cysteine residue of the wild-type has been replaced by alanine, is also highly sensitive to the sulfhydryl reagents. Maximal sensitivity is observed in the presence of the cosubstrates sodium and chloride. A marked protection is afforded by GABA, provided sodium is present. This protection is also observed at 4 degrees C. The non-transportable analogue SKF100330A also protects the double mutant against sulfhydryl modification in the presence of sodium but has the opposite effect in its absence. Electrophysiological analysis shows that upon sulfhydryl modification of this mutant, GABA can no longer induce transport currents. The voltage dependence of the transient currents indicates an increased apparent affinity for sodium. Moreover, GABA is unable to suppress the transient currents. Our results indicate that part of extracellular loop IV is conformationally sensitive, and its modification selectively abolishes the interaction of the transporter with GABA.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2003; 278(44):42950-8. · 4.65 Impact Factor