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author:("saman, Dieter")
1.  Yeast nutrient transceptors provide novel insight in the functionality of membrane transporters 
Current Genetics  2013;59:197-206.
In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae several nutrient transporters have been identified that possess an additional function as nutrient receptor. These transporters are induced when yeast cells are starved for their substrate, which triggers entry into stationary phase and acquirement of a low protein kinase A (PKA) phenotype. Re-addition of the lacking nutrient triggers exit from stationary phase and sudden activation of the PKA pathway, the latter being mediated by the nutrient transceptors. At the same time, the transceptors are ubiquitinated, endocytosed and sorted to the vacuole for breakdown. Investigation of the signaling function of the transceptors has provided a new read-out and new tools for gaining insight into the functionality of transporters. Identification of amino acid residues that bind co-transported ions in symporters has been challenging because the inactivation of transport by site-directed mutagenesis is not conclusive with respect to the cause of the inactivation. The discovery of nontransported agonists of the signaling function in transceptors has shown that transport is not required for signaling. Inactivation of transport with maintenance of signaling in transceptors supports that a true proton-binding residue was mutagenised. Determining the relationship between transport and induction of endocytosis has also been challenging, since inactivation of transport by mutagenesis easily causes loss of all affinity for the substrate. The use of analogues with different combinations of transport and signaling capacities has revealed that transport, ubiquitination and endocytosis can be uncoupled in several unexpected ways. The results obtained are consistent with transporters undergoing multiple substrate-induced conformational changes, which allow interaction with different accessory proteins to trigger specific downstream events.
doi:10.1007/s00294-013-0413-y
PMCID: PMC3824880  PMID: 24114446
Nutrient signaling; Transceptor; Co-transport; Proton binding; Endocytosis; Ubiquitination
2.  The intrinsic GTPase activity of the Gtr1 protein from Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
BMC Biochemistry  2012;13:11.
Background
The Gtr1 protein of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a member of the RagA subfamily of the Ras-like small GTPase superfamily. Gtr1 has been implicated in various cellular processes. Particularly, the Switch regions in the GTPase domain of Gtr1 are essential for TORC1 activation and amino acid signaling. Therefore, knowledge about the biochemical activity of Gtr1 is required to understand its mode of action and regulation.
Results
By employing tryptophan fluorescence analysis and radioactive GTPase assays, we demonstrate that Gtr1 can adopt two distinct GDP- and GTP-bound conformations, and that it hydrolyses GTP much slower than Ras proteins. Using cysteine mutagenesis of Arginine-37 and Valine-67, residues at the Switch I and II regions, respectively, we show altered GTPase activity and associated conformational changes as compared to the wild type protein and the cysteine-less mutant.
Conclusions
The extremely low intrinsic GTPase activity of Gtr1 implies requirement for interaction with activating proteins to support its physiological function. These findings as well as the altered properties obtained by mutagenesis in the Switch regions provide insights into the function of Gtr1 and its homologues in yeast and mammals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2091-13-11
PMCID: PMC3477016  PMID: 22726655
Gtr1; GTPase; Intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence; Rag GTPase; Cysteine mutagenesis; Switch region
3.  Functionally Important Amino Acids in the Arabidopsis Thylakoid Phosphate Transporter: Homology Modeling and Site-Directed Mutagenesis† 
Biochemistry  2010;49(30):6430-6439.
The anion transporter 1 (ANTR1) from Arabidopsis thaliana, homologous to the mammalian members of the solute carrier 17 (SLC17) family, is located in the chloroplast thylakoid membrane. When expressed heterologously in Escherichia coli, ANTR1 mediates a Na+-dependent active transport of inorganic phosphate (Pi). The aim of this study was to identify amino acid residues involved in Pi binding and translocation by ANTR1 and in the Na+ dependence of its activity. A three-dimensional structural model of ANTR1 was constructed using the crystal structure of glycerol 3-phosphate/phosphate antiporter from E. coli as a template. Based on this model and multiple sequence alignments, five highly conserved residues in plant ANTRs and mammalian SLC17 homologues have been selected for site-directed mutagenesis, namely, Arg-120, Ser-124, and Arg-201 inside the putative translocation pathway and Arg-228 and Asp-382 exposed at the cytoplasmic surface of the protein. The activities of the wild-type and mutant proteins have been analyzed using expression in E. coli and radioactive Pi transport assays and compared with bacterial cells carrying an empty plasmid. The results from Pi- and Na+-dependent kinetics indicate the following: (i) Arg-120 and Arg-201 may be important for binding and translocation of the substrate; (ii) Ser-124 may function as a transient binding site for Na+ ions in close proximity to the periplasmic side; (iii) Arg-228 and Asp-382 may participate in interactions associated with protein conformational changes required for full transport activity. Functional characterization of ANTR1 should provide useful insights into the function of other plant and mammalian SLC17 homologous transporters.
doi:10.1021/bi100239j
PMCID: PMC2911078  PMID: 20565143

Results 1-3 (3)