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Identification of a probable pore-forming domain in the multimeric vacuolar anion channel AtALMT9


Zhang, Jingbo; Baetz, Ulrike; Krügel, Undine; Martinoia, Enrico; De Angeli, Alexis (2013). Identification of a probable pore-forming domain in the multimeric vacuolar anion channel AtALMT9. Plant Physiology, 163(2):830-843.

Abstract

Aluminum-activated malate transporters (ALMTs) form an important family of anion channels involved in fundamental physiological processes in plants. Because of their importance, the role of ALMTs in plant physiology is studied extensively. In contrast, the structural basis of their functional properties is largely unknown. This lack of information limits the understanding of the functional and physiological differences between ALMTs and their impact on anion transport in plants. This study aimed at investigating the structural organization of the transmembrane domain of the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) vacuolar channel AtALMT9. For that purpose, we performed a large-scale mutagenesis analysis and found two residues that form a salt bridge between the first and second putative transmembrane α-helices (TMα1 and TMα2). Furthermore, using a combination of pharmacological and mutagenesis approaches, we identified citrate as an "open channel blocker" of AtALMT9 and used this tool to examine the inhibition sensitivity of different point mutants of highly conserved amino acid residues. By this means, we found a stretch within the cytosolic moiety of the TMα5 that is a probable pore-forming domain. Moreover, using a citrate-insensitive AtALMT9 mutant and biochemical approaches, we could demonstrate that AtALMT9 forms a multimeric complex that is supposedly composed of four subunits. In summary, our data provide, to our knowledge, the first evidence about the structural organization of an ion channel of the ALMT family. We suggest that AtALMT9 is a tetramer and that the TMα5 domains of the subunits contribute to form the pore of this anion channel.

Abstract

Aluminum-activated malate transporters (ALMTs) form an important family of anion channels involved in fundamental physiological processes in plants. Because of their importance, the role of ALMTs in plant physiology is studied extensively. In contrast, the structural basis of their functional properties is largely unknown. This lack of information limits the understanding of the functional and physiological differences between ALMTs and their impact on anion transport in plants. This study aimed at investigating the structural organization of the transmembrane domain of the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) vacuolar channel AtALMT9. For that purpose, we performed a large-scale mutagenesis analysis and found two residues that form a salt bridge between the first and second putative transmembrane α-helices (TMα1 and TMα2). Furthermore, using a combination of pharmacological and mutagenesis approaches, we identified citrate as an "open channel blocker" of AtALMT9 and used this tool to examine the inhibition sensitivity of different point mutants of highly conserved amino acid residues. By this means, we found a stretch within the cytosolic moiety of the TMα5 that is a probable pore-forming domain. Moreover, using a citrate-insensitive AtALMT9 mutant and biochemical approaches, we could demonstrate that AtALMT9 forms a multimeric complex that is supposedly composed of four subunits. In summary, our data provide, to our knowledge, the first evidence about the structural organization of an ion channel of the ALMT family. We suggest that AtALMT9 is a tetramer and that the TMα5 domains of the subunits contribute to form the pore of this anion channel.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:10 Jan 2014 08:01
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:21
Publisher:American Society of Plant Biologists
ISSN:0032-0889
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.113.219832
PubMed ID:23918900

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