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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jul 8;286(27):24150-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.236539. Epub 2011 May 20.

Random mutagenesis of the proton-coupled folate transporter (SLC46A1), clustering of mutations, and the bases for associated losses of function.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


Loss-of-function mutations in the proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT, SLC46A1) result in the autosomal recessive disorder, hereditary folate malabsorption (HFM). Identification and characterization of HFM mutations provide a wealth of information on the structure-function relationship of this transporter. In the current study, PCR-based random mutagenesis was employed to generate unbiased loss-of-function mutations of PCFT, simulating the spectrum of alterations that might occur in the human disorder. A total of 26 mutations were generated and 4 were identical to HFM mutations. Eleven were base deletion or insertion mutations that led to a frameshift and, along with similar HFM mutations, are predominantly localized to two narrow regions of the pcft gene at the 5'-end. Base substitution mutations identified in the current study and HFM patients were largely distributed across the pcft gene. Elimination of the ATG initiation codon by a one-base substitution (G > A) did not result in a complete lack of translation at the same codon consistent with rare non-ATG translation initiation. Among six missense mutants evaluated, three mutant PCFTs were not detected at the plasma membrane, one mutation resulted in decreased binding to folate substrate, and one had a reduced rate of conformational change associated with substrate translocation. The remaining PCFT mutant had defects in both processes. These results broaden understanding of the regions of the pcft gene prone to base insertion and deletion and inform further approaches to the analysis of the structure-function of PCFT.

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