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Plant J. 2010 Oct;64(1):47-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04309.x. Epub 2010 Aug 31.

An extracellular hydrophilic carboxy-terminal domain regulates the activity of TaALMT1, the aluminum-activated malate transport protein of wheat.

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  • 1Institute of Plant Science and Resources, Okayama University, Chuo 2-20-1, Kurashiki, Okayama 710-0046, Japan.


Al³+ -resistant cultivars of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) release malate through the Al³+ -activated anion transport protein Triticum aestivum aluminum-activated malate transporter 1 (TaALMT1). Expression of TaALMT1 in Xenopus oocytes and tobacco suspension cells enhances the basal transport activity (inward and outward currents present in the absence of external Al³+, and generates the same Al³+ -activated currents (reflecting the Al³+-dependent transport function) as observed in wheat cells. We investigated the amino acid residues involved in this Al³+-dependent transport activity by generating a series of mutations to the TaALMT1 protein. We targeted the acidic residues on the hydrophilic C-terminal domain of TaALMT1 and changed them to uncharged residues by site-directed mutagenesis. These mutant proteins were expressed in Xenopus oocytes and their transport activity was measured before and after Al³+ addition. Three mutations (E274Q, D275N and E284Q) abolished the Al³+-activated transport activity without affecting the basal transport activity. Truncation of the hydrophilic C-terminal domain abolished both basal and Al³+-activated transport activities. Al³+-dependent transport activity was recovered by fusing the N-terminal region of TaALMT1 with the C-terminal region of AtALMT1, a homolog from Arabidopsis. These findings demonstrate that the extracellular C-terminal domain is required for both basal and Al³+-dependent TaALMT1 activity. Furthermore, we identified three acidic amino acids within this domain that are specifically required for the activation of transport function by external Al³+.

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