Author(s): Machtens JP, Kovermann P, Fahlke C
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Abstract EAAT glutamate transporters do not only function as secondary-active glutamate transporters but also as anion channels. EAAT anion channel activity depends on transport substrates. For most isoforms, it is negligible without external Na(+) and increased by external glutamate. We here investigated gating of EAAT4 anion channels with various cations and amino acid substrates using patch clamp experiments on a mammalian cell line. We demonstrate that Li(+) can substitute for Na(+) in supporting substrate-activated anion currents, albeit with changed voltage dependence. Anion currents were recorded in glutamate, aspartate, and cysteine, and distinct time and voltage dependences were observed. For each substrate, gating was different in external Na(+) or Li(+). All features of voltage-dependent and substrate-specific anion channel gating can be described by a simplified nine-state model of the transport cycle in which only amino acid substrate-bound states assume high anion channel open probabilities. The kinetic scheme suggests that the substrate dependence of channel gating is exclusively caused by differences in substrate association and translocation. Moreover, the voltage dependence of anion channel gating arises predominantly from electrogenic cation binding and membrane translocation of the transporter. We conclude that all voltage- and substrate-dependent conformational changes of the EAAT4 anion channel are linked to transitions within the transport cycle.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Gene Technology