[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peptide transporters (PTRs) of the large PTR family facilitate the uptake of di- and tripeptides to provide cells with amino acids for protein synthesis and for metabolic intermediates. Although several PTRs have been structurally and functionally characterized, how drugs modulate peptide transport remains unclear. To obtain insight into this mechanism, we characterize inhibitor binding to the Escherichia coli PTR dipeptide and tripeptide permease A (DtpA), which shows substrate specificities similar to its human homolog hPEPT1. After demonstrating that Lys[Z-NO2]-Val, the strongest inhibitor of hPEPT1, also acts as a high-affinity inhibitor for DtpA, we used single-molecule force spectroscopy to localize the structural segments stabilizing the peptide transporter and investigated which of these structural segments change stability upon inhibitor binding. This characterization was done with DtpA embedded in the lipid membrane and exposed to physiologically relevant conditions. In the unbound state, DtpA adopts two main alternate conformations in which transmembrane α-helix (TMH) 2 is either stabilized (in ∼43% of DtpA molecules) or not (in ∼57% of DtpA molecules). The two conformations are understood to represent the inward- and outward-facing conformational states of the transporter. With increasing inhibitor concentration, the conformation characterized by a stabilized TMH 2 becomes increasingly prevalent, reaching ∼92% at saturation. Our measurements further suggest that Lys[Z-NO2]-Val interacts with discrete residues in TMH 2 that are important for ligand binding and substrate affinity. These interactions in turn stabilize TMH 2, thereby promoting the inhibited conformation of DtpA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression and purification of human membrane proteins for structural studies represent a great challenge. This is because micro- to milligram amounts of pure isolated protein are required. To this aim, we successfully expressed the human vitamin C transporter-1 (hSVCT1; SLC23A1) in Xenopus laevis oocytes and isolated highly pure protein in microgram amounts. Recombinant hSVCT1 was functional when expressed in oocytes and glycosylated. Structural analysis of purified hSVCT1 by transmission electron microscopy and single particle analysis unveiled its shape, dimensions and low-resolution structure as well as the existence of a major monomeric and minor dimeric population. Chemical crosslinking of isolated oocyte membranes containing expressed hSVCT1 indicated similar oligomeric states of hSVCT1 in lipid bilayers. This work reports the first purification and structural analysis of a human SVCT protein and opens the way for future functional and structural studies using purified hSVCT1.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e76427. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The glucose transporter IICB of the Escherichia coli phosphotransferase system (PTS) consists of a polytopic membrane domain (IIC) responsible for substrate transport and a hydrophilic C-terminal domain (IIB) responsible for substrate phosphorylation. We have overexpressed and purified a triple mutant of IIC (mut-IIC), which had recently been shown to be suitable for crystallization purposes. Mut-IIC was homodimeric as determined by blue native-PAGE and gel-filtration, and had an eyeglasses-like structure as shown by negative-stain transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and single particle analysis. Glucose binding and transport by mut-IIC, mut-IICB and wildtype-IICB were compared with scintillation proximity and in vivo transport assays. Binding was reduced and transport was impaired by the triple mutation. The scintillation proximity assay allowed determination of substrate binding, affinity and specificity of wildtype-IICB by a direct method. 2D crystallization of mut-IIC yielded highly-ordered tubular crystals and made possible the calculation of a projection structure at 12Å resolution by negative-stain TEM. Immunogold labeling TEM revealed the sidedness of the tubular crystals, and high-resolution atomic force microscopy the surface structure of mut-IIC. This work presents the structure of a glucose PTS transporter at the highest resolution achieved so far and sets the basis for future structural studies.
Journal of Structural Biology 12/2011; 176(3):395-403. · 3.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Structural analyses of heterologously expressed mammalian membrane proteins remain a great challenge given that microgram to milligram amounts of correctly folded and highly purified proteins are required. Here, we present a novel method for the expression and affinity purification of recombinant mammalian and in particular human transport proteins in Xenopus laevis frog oocytes. The method was validated for four human and one murine transporter. Negative stain transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and single particle analysis (SPA) of two of these transporters, i.e., the potassium-chloride cotransporter 4 (KCC4) and the aquaporin-1 (AQP1) water channel, revealed the expected quaternary structures within homogeneous preparations, and thus correct protein folding and assembly. This is the first time a cation-chloride cotransporter (SLC12) family member is isolated, and its shape, dimensions, low-resolution structure and oligomeric state determined by TEM, i.e., by a direct method. Finally, we were able to grow 2D crystals of human AQP1. The ability of AQP1 to crystallize was a strong indicator for the structural integrity of the purified recombinant protein. This approach will open the way for the structure determination of many human membrane transporters taking full advantage of the Xenopus laevis oocyte expression system that generally yields robust functional expression.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(7):e21901. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High-resolution microscopy techniques provide a plethora of information on biological structures from the cellular level down to the molecular level. In this review, we present the unique capabilities of transmission electron and atomic force microscopy to assess the structure, oligomeric state, function and dynamics of channel and transport proteins in their native environment, the lipid bilayer. Most importantly, membrane proteins can be visualized in the frozen-hydrated state and in buffer solution by cryo-transmission electron and atomic force microscopy, respectively. We also illustrate the potential of the scintillation proximity assay to study substrate binding of detergent-solubilized transporters prior to crystallization and structural characterization.