The Hydroxyl Side Chain of a Highly Conserved Serine Residue Is Required for Cation Selectivity and Substrate Transport in the Glial Glutamate Transporter GLT-1/SLC1A2

Simonin, Alexandre; Montalbetti, Nicolas; Gyimesi, Gergely; Pujol Gimenez, Jonai; Hediger, Matthias (2015). The Hydroxyl Side Chain of a Highly Conserved Serine Residue Is Required for Cation Selectivity and Substrate Transport in the Glial Glutamate Transporter GLT-1/SLC1A2. Journal of biological chemistry, 290(51), pp. 30464-30474. American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 10.1074/jbc.M115.689836

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Glutamate transporters maintain synaptic concentration of the excitatory neurotransmitter below neurotoxic levels. Their transport cycle consists of cotransport of glutamate with three sodium ions and one proton, followed by countertransport of potassium. Structural studies proposed that a highly conserved serine located in the binding pocket of the homologous GltPh coordinates l-aspartate as well as the sodium ion Na1. To experimentally validate these findings, we generated and characterized several mutants of the corresponding serine residue, Ser-364, of human glutamate transporter SLC1A2 (solute carrier family 1 member 2), also known as glutamate transporter GLT-1 and excitatory amino acid transporter EAAT2. S364T, S364A, S364C, S364N, and S364D were expressed in HEK cells and Xenopus laevis oocytes to measure radioactive substrate transport and transport currents, respectively. All mutants exhibited similar plasma membrane expression when compared with WT SLC1A2, but substitutions of serine by aspartate or asparagine completely abolished substrate transport. On the other hand, the threonine mutant, which is a more conservative mutation, exhibited similar substrate selectivity, substrate and sodium affinities as WT but a lower selectivity for Na(+) over Li(+). S364A and S364C exhibited drastically reduced affinities for each substrate and enhanced selectivity for l-aspartate over d-aspartate and l-glutamate, and lost their selectivity for Na(+) over Li(+). Furthermore, we extended the analysis of our experimental observations using molecular dynamics simulations. Altogether, our findings confirm a pivotal role of the serine 364, and more precisely its hydroxyl group, in coupling sodium and substrate fluxes.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Simonin, Alexandre, Montalbetti, Nicolas, Gyimesi, Gergely (B), Pujol Gimenez, Jonai, Hediger, Matthias


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology




Kevin Marc Rupp

Date Deposited:

22 Feb 2016 11:54

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:34

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

GLT-1; SLC1A2; excitatory neurotransmission; excitotoxicity; glutamate transporter; molecular dynamics; mutagenesis; neurotoxicity; neurotransmitter transport; structure-function; structure/function studies




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