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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1998 Aug 28;249(3):589-94.

Bacterial overexpression, purification, and reconstitution of the carnitine/acylcarnitine carrier from rat liver mitochondria.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaco-Biology, University of Bari, Italy.


The carnitine/acylcarnitine carrier from rat liver mitochondria was overexpressed in Escherichia coli. The expressed protein, recovered as inclusion bodies, was solubilized with sarkosyl and purified by Sephadex G-200 and celite chromatography. A yield of 15 mg of purified transport protein per liter of cell culture was obtained. Upon reconstitution into liposomes, the purified carrier catalyzed a [3H]carnitine/carnitine exchange inhibited by maleimides, mercurials, and sulfobetaines. Carnitine esters of various lengths were also transported. The Km for carnitine uptake was 0.47 +/- 0.11 mM, the Vmax of the exchange was 0.78 +/- 0.24 mmol/min per gram of protein, and the Ki for octanoylcarnitine was 13.5 +/- 4.3 microM. The transport properties of the recombinant carrier were virtually identical to those of the native transporter. These studies represent the first overexpression of the functionally active mitochondrial carnitine/acylcarnitine carrier, thus enabling structure/function analysis of this protein by site-directed mutagenesis.

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