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Biochemistry. 1995 Nov 28;34(47):15395-406.

Net sugar transport is a multistep process. Evidence for cytosolic sugar binding sites in erythrocytes.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester 01605, USA.


Human erythrocyte net sugar transport is hypothesized to be rate-limited by reduced cytosolic diffusion of sugars and/or by reversible sugar association with intracellular macromolecules [Naftalin, R.J., Smith, P.M., & Roselaar, S.E. (1985) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 820, 235-249]. The present study examines these hypotheses. Protein-mediated 3-O-methylglucose uptake at 4 degrees C by human erythrocytes and by resealed, hypotonically lysed erythrocytes (ghosts) is inhibited by increasing solvent viscosity. Protein-mediated transport and transbilayer diffusion of the slowly transported substrate 6-NBD glucosamine are unaffected by increasing solvent viscosity. These findings suggest that protein-mediated 3-O-methylglucose transport is diffusion-limited in erythrocytes. More detailed analyses of red cell 3-O-methylglucose uptake (at 4 degrees C and at limiting extracellular sugar levels) reveal that net influx is a biexponential process characterized by rapid filling of a small compartment (C1 = 29 +/- 6% total cell volume; k1 = 7.4 +/- 1.7 min-1) and slow filling of a larger compartment (C2 = 71 +/- 6% total cell volume k2 = 0.56 +/- 0.11 min-1). Erythrocyte D-glucose net uptake at 4 degrees C is also a biphasic process. Transmembrane sugar leakage is a monoexponential process indicating that multicomponent, protein-mediated uptake does not result from sugar uptake by two cell populations of differing cellular volume. Sugar exit at limiting 3-O-methylglucose concentrations is described by single exponential kinetics. This demonstrates that multicomponent sugar uptake does not result from influx into two populations of cells with widely different sugar transporter content. We conclude that biexponential sugar uptake results from slow (relative to transport) exchange of sugars between serial, intracellular sugar compartments. Biexponential sugar uptake is observed under equilibrium exchange conditions (intracellular sugar concentration = extracellular sugar concentration) but only at 3-O-methylglucose concentrations of less than 1 mM. Above this sugar concentration, exchange uptake is a monoexponential process. Because diffusion rates are independent of diffusant concentration, this suggests that multicomponent uptake results from high-affinity sugar binding within the cell. The concentration of cytosolic binding sites (30 microM, Kd(app) = 400 microM) was estimated from the equilibrium cellular 3-O-methylglucose space. Biexponential net 3-O-methylglucose uptake is also observed in human erythrocyte ghosts, in control human K562 cells, and in K562 cells induced to synthesize hemoglobin by prolonged exposure to hemin. This demonstrates that neither membrane-bound nor free cytosolic hemoglobin forms the sugar-binding complex.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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