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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2001 Oct 1;394(1):67-75.

Chimers of two fused ADP/ATP carrier monomers indicate a single channel for ADP/ATP transport.

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Institute of Physical Biochemistry, University of Munich, Schillerstrasse 44, Munich, D-80336, Germany.


The mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier (AAC) is generally believed to function as a homodimer (Wt. Wt). It remains unknown whether the two monomers possess two independent but fully anticooperative channels or they form a single central channel for nucleotide transport. Here we generated fusion proteins consisting of two tandem covalent-linked AAC monomers and studied the kinetics of ADP/ATP transport in reconstituted proteoliposomes. Functional 64-kDa fusion proteins Wt-Wt and Wt-R294A (wild-type AAC linked to a mutant having low ATP transport activity) were expressed in mitochondria of yeast transformants. Compared to homodimer Wt. Wt, the fusion protein Wt-Wt retained the transport activity and selectivity of ADP versus ATP. The strongly divergent selectivities of Wt and R294A were partially propagated in the Wt-R294A fusion protein, suggesting a limited cooperativity during solute translocation. The rates of ADP or ATP transport were significantly higher than those predicted by the two-channel model. Fusion proteins for Wt-R204L (Wt linked to an inactive mutant) and R204L-Wt were not expressed in aerobically grown yeast cells, which contained plasmid rearrangements that regenerated the fully active 32-kDa homodimer Wt. Wt, suggesting that these fusion proteins are inactive in ADP/ATP transport. These results favor a single binding center gated pore model [Klingenberg, M. (1991) in A Study of Enzymes, Vol. 2: pp. 367-388] in which two AAC subunits cooperate for a coordinated ADP/ATP exchange through a single channel.

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