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J Biol Chem. 1999 Nov 19;274(47):33388-92.

Mutations in novel organic cation transporter (OCTN2), an organic cation/carnitine transporter, with differential effects on the organic cation transport function and the carnitine transport function.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia 30912, USA.


Novel organic cation transporter (OCTN2) is an organic cation/carnitine transporter, and two missense mutations, L352R and P478L, in OCTN2 have been identified as the cause for primary carnitine deficiency. In the present study, we assessed the influence of these two mutations on the carnitine transport function and the organic cation transport function of OCTN2. The L352R mutation resulted in a complete loss of both transport functions. In contrast, the P478L mutation resulted in a complete loss of only the carnitine transport function but significantly stimulated the organic cation transport function. Studies with human OCTN2/rat OCTN2 chimeric transporters indicated that the carnitine transport site and the organic cation transport site were not identical. Because carnitine transport is Na(+)-dependent whereas organic cation transport is Na(+)-independent, we investigated the possibility that the P478L mutation affected Na(+) binding. The Na(+) activation kinetics were found to be similar for the P478L mutant and wild type OCTN2. We then mutated nine different tyrosine residues located in or near transmembrane domains and assessed the transport function of these mutants. One of these mutations, Y211F, was found to have differential influence on the two transport activities of OCTN2 as did the P478L mutation. However, the Na(+) activation kinetics were not affected. These findings are of clinical relevance to patients with primary carnitine deficiency because whereas each and every mutation in these patients is expected to result in the loss of the carnitine transport function, all of these mutations may not interfere with the organic cation transport function.

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