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Eur J Biochem. 1995 May 1;229(3):682-7.

Localization of N-glycosylation sites and functional role of the carbohydrate units of GLAST-1, a cloned rat brain L-glutamate/L-aspartate transporter.

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Institute of Biochemistry, Medical Faculty, University of Cologne, Germany.


The L-glutamate transporter GLAST-1 belongs to the newly discovered family of Na(+)-dependent, high-affinity glutamate transporters, which are involved in the regulation of synaptic excitatory neurotransmitter concentration in mammalian brain. The members of this family have a similar topological organisation with at least six transmembrane helices (TMHs) and two putative N-glycosylation sites located in the extracellular loop connecting TMH 3 and TMH 4. Besides these two conserved N-glycosylation motifs at Asn206 and Asn216, GLAST-1 possesses an additional one at Asn35. The putative N-glycosylation consensus motifs (Asn-Xaa-Ser/Thr) were deleted by replacement of Asn206 and/or Asn216 by Thr using site-directed mutagenesis (mutants N206T, N216T and N206,216T). The cDNAs encoding wild-type GLAST-1 and the three glycosylation-defective transport proteins were expressed in the Xenopus laevis oocyte system. Immunoprecipitation of the [35S]methionine-labeled and glycopeptidase-F-treated transporter molecules indicates that GLAST-1 is glycosylated at Asn206 and Asn216, whereas Asn35 remains unglycosylated. To assess a possible functional role of the two glycosylation sites wild-type and glycosylation-deficient GLAST-1 were expressed in Xenopus oocytes and characterized functionally by using the whole-cell voltage-clamp technique. The results prove that N-glycosylation has no impact on the transport activity of GLAST-1.

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