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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Different transport mechanisms in plant and human AMT/Rh-type ammonium transporters.

The conserved family of AMT/Rh proteins facilitates ammonium transport across animal, plant, and microbial membranes. A bacterial homologue, AmtB, forms a channel-like structure and appears to function as an NH3 gas channel. To evaluate the function of eukaryotic homologues, the human RhCG glycoprotein and the tomato plant ammonium transporter LeAMT1;2 were expressed and compared in Xenopus oocytes and yeast. RhCG mediated the electroneutral transport of methylammonium (MeA), which saturated with Km = 3.8 mM at pHo 7. 5. Uptake was strongly favored by increasing the pHo and was inhibited by ammonium. Ammonium induced rapid cytosolic alkalinization in RhCG-expressing oocytes. Additionally, RhCG expression was associated with an alkali-cation conductance, which was not significantly permeable to NH4+ and was apparently uncoupled from the ammonium transport. In contrast, expression of the homologous LeAMT1;2 induced pHo-independent MeA+ uptake and specific NH4+ and MeA+ currents that were distinct from endogenous currents. The different mechanisms of transport, including the RhCG-associated alkali-cation conductance, were verified by heterologous expression in appropriate yeast strains. Thus, homologous AMT/Rh-type proteins function in a distinct manner; while LeAMT1;2 carries specifically NH4+, or cotransports NH3/H+, RhCG mediates electroneutral NH3 transport.[1]


  1. Different transport mechanisms in plant and human AMT/Rh-type ammonium transporters. Mayer, M., Schaaf, G., Mouro, I., Lopez, C., Colin, Y., Neumann, P., Cartron, J.P., Ludewig, U. J. Gen. Physiol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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