The neutral amino acid transporter ASCT2 mediates electroneutral obligatory antiport but at the same time requires Na+ for its function. To elucidate the mechanism, ASCT2 was expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and transport was analysed by flux studies and two-electrode voltage clamp recordings. Flux studies with 22NaCl indicated that the uptake of one molecule of glutamine or alanine is accompanied by the uptake of four to seven Na+ ions. Similarly to the transport of amino acids, the Na+ uptake was mediated by an obligatory Na+ exchange mechanism that depended on the presence of amino acids but was not stoichiometrically coupled to the amino acid transport. Other cations could not replace Na+ in this transport mechanism. When NaCl was replaced by NaSCN in the transport buffer, the superfusion of oocytes with amino acid substrates resulted in large inward currents, indicating the presence of a substrate-gated anion channel in the ASCT2 transporter. The Km for glutamine derived from these experiments is in good agreement with the Km derived from flux studies; it varied between 40 and 90 μM at holding potentials of -60 and -20 mV respectively. The permeability of the substrate-gated anion conductance decreased in the order SCN- NO3- > I- > Cl- and also required the presence of Na+.
- glutamate transport
- glutamine transport
- structurefunction relationships
- The Biochemical Society, London © 2000