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Pflugers Arch. 1999 Nov;438(6):788-96.

Ionic selectivity of the coupled and uncoupled currents carried by the amino acid transporter KAAT1.

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Department of Structural and Functional Biology, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy.


The ability of the intestinal amino acid co-transporter KAAT-1 expressed in Xenopus oocytes to transport different cations in either amino acid coupled or uncoupled manner was studied using voltage-clamp conditions. KAAT1-expressing oocytes exhibit a transporter-related current in the absence of organic substrate (uncoupled current). In the presence of various alkali cations the amplitude of this current follows the sequence: ILi > INa > IK approximately equal to IRb approximately equal to ICs. Addition of 1 mM leucine causes large increases in K+ and Na+ currents, while the Li+ current undergoes a more complex change and Rb+ and Cs+ currents are only marginally affected. Pre-steady-state currents in the absence of organic substrate are apparent when Na+, K+, or Li+ are the bathing ions; analysis of these currents in terms of charge movement reveals that Na+, K+, and Li+ interact differently with the transporter. The uncoupled current in mixtures of Na+ and Li+ fails to exhibit anomalous mole-fraction behavior. Kinetic analysis of ion binding and uncoupled permeation argues against a multi-ion single-file mechanism in the KAAT1 cotransporter.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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