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Biochemistry. 2002 Jan 29;41(4):1250-8.

Fluorescence studies of ligand-induced conformational changes of the Na(+)/glucose cotransporter.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, UCLA School of Medicine, Center for the Health Sciences, Los Angeles, California 90095-1751, USA.


Conformational changes in the human Na(+)/glucose cotransporter (hSGLT1) were examined using hSGLT1 Q457C expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and tagged with tetramethylrhodamine-6-maleimide (TMR6M). Na(+)/glucose cotransport is abolished in the TMR6M-labeled mutant, but the protein binds Na(+) and sugar [Loo et al. (1998) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 95, 7789-7794]. Under voltage clamp the fluorescence of labeled Q457C was dependent on external cations. Increasing [Na(+)] increased fluorescence with a Hill coefficient of 2 and half-maximal concentration (K(Na)(0.5)) of 49 mM at -90 mV. Li(+) also increased fluorescence, whereas choline, tetraethylammonium, and N-methyl-D-glucamine did not. Fluorescence was increased by sugars with specificity: methyl alpha-D-glucopyranoside > D-glucose > D-galactose >> D-mannitol. Voltage-jump experiments (in 100 mM NaCl buffer in absence of sugar) elicited parallel changes in pre-steady-state charge movement and fluorescence. Charge vs voltage and fluorescence vs voltage curves followed Boltzmann relations with the same median voltage (V(0.5) = -50 mV), but the apparent valence was 1 for charge movement and 0.4 for fluorescence. V(0.5) for fluorescence and charge movement was shifted by -100 mV per 10-fold decrease in [Na(+)]. Under Na(+)-free conditions, there was a voltage-dependent change in fluorescence. Voltage-jump experiments showed that the maximal change in fluorescence increased 20% with sugar. These results indicate that Na(+), sugar, and membrane voltage change the local environment of the fluorophore at Q457C. Our interpretation of these results is (1) the conformational change of the empty transporter is voltage dependent, (2) two Na(+) ions can bind cooperatively to the protein before sugar, and (3) sugar binding induces a conformational change.

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