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J Biol Chem. 1998 Sep 18;273(38):24754-9.

The sequence, bacterial expression, and functional reconstitution of the rat mitochondrial dicarboxylate transporter cloned via distant homologs in yeast and Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaco-Biology, Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy.


The dicarboxylate carrier (DIC) belongs to a family of transport proteins found in the inner mitochondrial membranes. The biochemical properties of the mammalian protein have been characterized, but the protein is not abundant. It is difficult to purify and had not been sequenced. We have used the sequence of the distantly related yeast DIC to identify a related protein encoded in the genome of Caenorhabditis elegans. Then, related murine expressed sequence tags were identified with the worm sequence, and the murine sequence was used to isolate the cDNA for the rat homolog. The sequences of the worm and rat proteins have features characteristic of the family of mitochondrial transport proteins. Both proteins were expressed in bacteria and reconstituted into phospholipid vesicles where their transport characteristics closely resembled those of whole rat mitochondria and of the rat DIC reconstituted into vesicles. As expected from the role of the DIC in gluconeogenesis and ureogenesis, its transcripts were detected in rat liver and kidney, but unexpectedly, they were also detected in rat heart and brain tissues where the protein may fulfill other roles, possibly in supplying substrates to the Krebs cycle.

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