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

Molecular Determinants of Substrate Selectivity of a Novel Organic Cation Transporter (PMAT) in the SLC29 Family.

Plasma membrane monoamine transporter (PMAT or ENT4) is a newly cloned transporter assigned to the equilibrative nucleoside transporter (ENT) family (SLC29). Unlike ENT1-3, PMAT mainly functions as a polyspecific organic cation transporter. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the unique substrate selectivity of PMAT. By constructing chimeras between human PMAT and ENT1, we showed that a chimera consisting of transmembrane domains (TM) 1-6 of PMAT and TM7-11 of hENT1 behaved like PMAT, transporting 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ( MPP(+), an organic cation) but not uridine (a nucleoside), suggesting that TM1-6 contains critical domains responsible for substrate recognition. To identify residues important for the cation selectivity of PMAT, 10 negatively charged residues were chosen and substituted with alanine. Five of the alanine mutants retained PMAT activity, and four were non-functional due to impaired targeting to the plasma membrane. However, alanine substitution at Glu(206) in TM5 abolished PMAT activity without affecting cell surface expression. Eliminating the charge at Glu(206) (E206Q) resulted in loss of organic cation transport activity, whereas conserving the negative charge (E206D) restored transporter function. Interestingly, mutant E206Q, which possesses the equivalent residue in ENT1, gained uridine transport activity. Thr(220), another residue in TM5, also showed an effect on PMAT activity. Helical wheel analysis of TM5 revealed a distinct amphipathic pattern with Glu(206) and Thr(220) clustered in the center of the hydrophilic face. In summary, our results suggest that Glu(206) functions as a critical charge sensor for cationic substrates and TM5 forms part of the substrate permeation pathway in PMAT.[1]

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