Amino Acid Transporters
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Biomolecules ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 12 (1) ◽  
pp. 113
Jiali Wang ◽  
Yang Dong ◽  
Christof Grewer

Neutral amino acid transporters ASCT1 and ASCT2 are two SLC1 (solute carrier 1) family subtypes, which are specific for neutral amino acids. The other members of the SLC1 family are acidic amino acid transporters (EAATs 1–5). While the functional similarities and differences between the EAATs have been well studied, less is known about how the subtypes ASCT1 and 2 differ in kinetics and function. Here, by performing comprehensive electrophysiological analysis, we identified similarities and differences between these subtypes, as well as novel functional properties, such as apparent substrate affinities of the inward-facing conformation (in the range of 70 μM for L-serine as the substrate). Key findings were: ASCT1 has a higher apparent affinity for Na+, as well as a larger [Na+] dependence of substrate affinity compared to ASCT2. However, the general sequential Na+/substrate binding mechanism with at least one Na+ binding first, followed by amino acid substrate, followed by at least one more Na+ ion, appears to be conserved between the two subtypes. In addition, the first Na+ binding step, presumably to the Na3 site, occurs with high apparent affinity (<1 mM) in both transporters. In addition, ASCT1 and 2 show different substrate selectivities, where ASCT1 does not respond to extracellular glutamine. Finally, in both transporters, we measured rapid, capacitive charge movements upon application and removal of amino acid, due to rearrangement of the translocation equilibrium. This charge movement decays rapidly, with a time constant of 4–5 ms and recovers with a time constant in the 15 ms range after substrate removal. This places a lower limit on the turnover rate of amino acid exchange by these two transporters of 60–80 s−1.

2022 ◽  
Vol 12 (1) ◽  
Ze Tian Fang ◽  
Rajan Kapoor ◽  
Aniruddha Datta ◽  
Sakiko Okumoto

AbstractWheat grain protein content and composition are important for its end-use quality. Protein synthesis during the grain filling phase is supported by the amino acids remobilized from the vegetative tissue, the process in which both amino acid importers and exporters are expected to be involved. Previous studies identified amino acid importers that might function in the amino acid remobilization in wheat. However, the amino acid exporters involved in this process have been unexplored so far. In this study, we have curated the Usually Multiple Amino acids Move In and out Transporter (UMAMIT) family of transporters in wheat. As expected, the majority of UMAMITs were found as triads in the A, B, and D genomes of wheat. Expression analysis using publicly available data sets identified groups of TaUMAMITs expressed in root, leaf, spike, stem and grain tissues, many of which were temporarily regulated. Strong expression of TaUMAMITs was detected in the late senescing leaves and transfer cells in grains, both of which are the expected site of apoplastic amino acid transport during grain filling. Biochemical characterization of selected TaUMAMITs revealed that TaUMAMIT17 shows a strong amino acid export activity and might play a role in amino acid transfer to the grains.

2022 ◽  
Vol 15 ◽  
Peter Kovermann ◽  
Miriam Engels ◽  
Frank Müller ◽  
Christoph Fahlke

Excitatory amino acid transporters (EAATs) optimize the temporal resolution and energy demand of mammalian excitatory synapses by quickly removing glutamate from the synaptic cleft into surrounding neuronal and glial cells and ensuring low resting glutamate concentrations. In addition to secondary active glutamate transport, EAATs also function as anion channels. The channel function of these transporters is conserved in all homologs ranging from archaebacteria to mammals; however, its physiological roles are insufficiently understood. There are five human EAATs, which differ in their glutamate transport rates. Until recently the high-capacity transporters EAAT1, EAAT2, and EAAT3 were believed to conduct only negligible anion currents, with no obvious function in cell physiology. In contrast, the low-capacity glutamate transporters EAAT4 and EAAT5 are thought to regulate neuronal signaling as glutamate-gated channels. In recent years, new experimental approaches and novel animal models, together with the discovery of a human genetic disease caused by gain-of-function mutations in EAAT anion channels have enabled identification of the first physiological and pathophysiological roles of EAAT anion channels.

2021 ◽  
Vol 3 (12) ◽  
Enrico Garbe ◽  
Pedro Miramon ◽  
Franziska Gerwien ◽  
Michael Lorenz ◽  
Slavena Vylkova

The tight association of Candida albicans with the human host has driven the evolution of mechanisms that permit metabolic flexibility. Amino acids, present in free form or peptide bound, are an abundant carbon and nitrogen source in many host niches. Further,the capacity to sense and utilize certain amino acids, like proline, is directly linked to virulence. The C. albicans genome encodes for at least 24 amino acid permeases (AAPs), highlighting the importance of flexible amino acid uptake for fungal growth and virulence. Although the substrate specificity and role of certain AAPs has been investigated, a comprehensive characterization was missing. Therefore, we assembled a library of AAP deletion strains, which was tested for resistance to toxic amino acid analogs. Most striking was the specific resistance of gnp2Δ to the proline analog 3,4-dehydroproline. Subsequent tests validated that Gnp2 is a specific proline permease in C. albicans, which is contrary to the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae where proline transport is mediated by four permeases. Furthermore, the induction of GNP2 appears to be independent of the SPS (Ssy1-Ptr3-Ssy5) regulatory pathway that controls proline utilization in the model yeast, pointing towards rewired proline uptake in C. albicans. Additionally, strains lacking GNP2were unable to respond to proline-induced filamentation, displayed decreased cytotoxicity to macrophages and showed increased sensitivity to oxidative stress, underlining the importance of proline uptake for fungal virulence. Taken together, the role of Gnp2-mediated proline uptake illustrates the importance of metabolism-driven virulence in C. albicans.

2021 ◽  
Michael P Kavanaugh ◽  
Brent R. Lyda ◽  
Gregory P. Leary ◽  
Derek Silvius ◽  
Nicholas R. Natale ◽  

The conformationally restricted heterocycle hydroxy-ʟ-proline is a versatile scaffold for the synthesis of diverse multi-functionalized pyrrolidines for probing the ligand binding sites of biological targets. With the goal to develop new inhibitors of the widely expressed amino acid transporters SLC1A4 and SLC1A5 (also known as ASCT1 and ASCT2), we synthesized and functionally screened a series of hydroxy-ʟ-proline derivatives or 'prolinols' using electrophysiological and radio-labeled uptake assays on amino acid transporters from the SLC1, SLC7, and SLC38 solute carrier families. We identified a number of synthetic prolinols that act as selective high-affinity inhibitors of the SLC1 functional subfamily comprising the neutral amino acid transporters SLC1A4 and SLC1A5. The active and inactive prolinols were computationally docked into a threaded homology model and analyzed with respect to predicted molecular orientation and observed pharmacological activity. The series of hydroxy-L-proline derivatives identified here represents a new class of potential agents to pharmacologically modulate SLC1A4 and SLC1A5, amino acid exchangers that play important roles in a wide range of physiological and pathophysiological processes.

2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (12) ◽  
pp. e0010046
Gaétan Roy ◽  
Arijit Bhattacharya ◽  
Philippe Leprohon ◽  
Marc Ouellette

Studies of drug resistance in the protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania have been helpful in revealing biochemical pathways as potential drug targets. The chlorinated glutamine analogue acivicin has shown good activity against Leishmania cells and was shown to target several enzymes containing amidotransferase domains. We selected a Leishmania tarentolae clone for acivicin resistance. The genome of this resistant strain was sequenced and the gene coding for the amidotransferase domain-containing GMP synthase was found to be amplified. Episomal expression of this gene in wild-type L. tarentolae revealed a modest role in acivicin resistance. The most prominent defect observed in the resistant mutant was reduced uptake of glutamate, and through competition experiments we determined that glutamate and acivicin, but not glutamine, share the same transporter. Several amino acid transporters (AATs) were either deleted or mutated in the resistant cells. Some contributed to the acivicin resistance phenotype although none corresponded to the main glutamate transporter. Through sequence analysis one AAT on chromosome 22 corresponded to the main glutamate transporter. Episomal expression of the gene coding for this transporter in the resistant mutant restored glutamate transport and acivicin susceptibility. Its genetic knockout led to reduced glutamate transport and acivicin resistance. We propose that acivicin binds covalently to this transporter and as such leads to decreased transport of glutamate and acivicin thus leading to acivicin resistance.

Animals ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (12) ◽  
pp. 3551
Alina Kurz ◽  
Jana Seifert

Pigs are among the most important farm animals for meat production worldwide. In order to meet the amino acid requirements of the animals, pigs rely on the regular intake of proteins and amino acids with their feed. Unfortunately, pigs excrete about two thirds of the used protein, and production of pork is currently associated with a high emission of nitrogen compounds resulting in negative impacts on the environment. Thus, improving protein efficiency in pigs is a central aim to decrease the usage of protein carriers in feed and to lower nitrogen emissions. This is necessary as the supply of plant protein sources is limited by the yield and the cultivable acreage for protein plants. Strategies to increase protein efficiency that go beyond the known feeding options have to be investigated considering the characteristics of the individual animals. This requires a deep understanding of the intestinal processes including enzymatic activities, capacities of amino acid transporters and the microbiome. This review provides an overview of these physiological factors and the respective analyses methods.

2021 ◽  
Soumita Dutta ◽  
Ileana D Corsi ◽  
Naomi Bier ◽  
Theresa M Koehler

Bacillus anthracis, the anthrax agent, exhibits robust proliferation in diverse niches of mammalian hosts. Metabolic attributes of B. anthracis that permit rapid growth in multiple mammalian tissues have not been established. We posit that branched-chain amino acid (BCAA: Isoleucine, leucine and valine) metabolism is key to B. anthracis pathogenesis. Increasing evidence indicates relationships between B. anthracis virulence and expression of BCAA-related genes. Expression of some BCAA-related genes is altered during culture in bovine blood in vitro and the bacterium exhibits valine auxotrophy in a blood serum mimic medium. Transcriptome analyses have revealed that the virulence regulator AtxA, that positively affects expression of the anthrax toxin and capsule genes, negatively regulates genes predicted to be associated with BCAA biosynthesis and transport. Here, we show that B. anthracis growth in defined media is severely restricted in the absence of exogenous BCAAs, indicating that BCAA transport is required for optimal growth in vitro. We demonstrate functional redundancy among multiple BrnQ-type BCAA transporters. Three transporters are associated with isoleucine and valine transport, and deletion of one, BrnQ3, attenuates virulence in a murine model for anthrax. Interestingly, an ilvD-null mutant lacking dihydroxy-acid dehydratase, an enzyme essential for BCAAs synthesis, exhibits unperturbed growth when cultured in media containing BCAAs, but is highly attenuated in the murine model. Finally, our data show that BCAAs enhance AtxA activity in a dose-dependent manner, suggesting a model in which BCAAs serve as a signal for virulence gene expression.

2021 ◽  
Shashank Pant ◽  
Qianyi Wu ◽  
Renae M Ryan ◽  
Emad Tajkhorshid

Excitatory amino acid transporters (EAATs) are glutamate transporters that belong to the solute carrier 1A (SLC1A) family. They couple glutamate transport to the co-transport of three sodium (Na+) ions and one proton (H+) and the counter-transport of one potassium (K+) ion. In addition to this coupled transport, binding of substrate and Na+ ions to EAATs activates a thermodynamically uncoupled chloride (Cl-) conductance. Structures of SLC1A family members have revealed that these transporters use a twisting elevator mechanism of transport, where a mobile transport domain carries substrate and coupled ions across the membrane, while a static scaffold domain anchors the transporter in the membrane. We have recently demonstrated that the uncoupled Cl- conductance is activated by the formation of an aqueous pore at the domain interface during the transport cycle in archaeal GltPh. However, a pathway for the uncoupled Cl- conductance has not been reported for the EAATs and it is unclear if such a pathway is conserved. Here, we employ all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations combined with enhanced sampling, free-energy calculations, and experimental mutagenesis to approximate large-scale conformational changes during the transport process and identified a Cl- conducting conformation in human EAAT1. We were able to extensively sample the large-scale structural transitions, allowing us to capture an intermediate conformation formed during the transport cycle with a continuous aqueous pore at the domain interface. The free-energy calculations performed for the conduction of Cl- and Na+ ions through the captured conformation, highlight the presence of two hydrophobic gates which control the selective movement of Cl- through the aqueous pathway. Overall, our findings provide insights into the mechanism by which a human glutamate transporter can support the dual functions of active transport and passive Cl- permeation and confirming the commonality of this mechanism in different members of the SLC1A family.

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