The reduced folate carrier (RFC1) plays a major role in the delivery of folates into mammalian cells. RFC1 is an anion exchanger with seven conserved positively charged amino acid residues within 12 predicted transmembrane domains. This article explores the role of these residues in transport function by the development of cell lines in which arginines and lysines in RFC1 were replaced with leucine by site-directed mutagenesis. Three cell lines transfected with R131L, R155L, or R366L all lacked activity, despite high levels of protein expression in the plasma membrane, suggesting the crucial role of these amino acid residues in RFC1 function. In several mutant carriers, R26L, R42L, and K332L, there was little or no change in the influx Kt value for MTX or influx Ki value for folic acid. However, the R26L, R42L, and K332L carriers had decreased affinity for reduced folates. This was most prominent for K404L, which had 11- and 4-fold increases in influx Kj for 5-methyl-THF and 5-formyl-THF, respectively, compared with L1210 cells. The marked influx stimulation observed with wild-type carrier when extracellular chloride was decreased was significantly diminished when influx was mediated by the K404L carrier, but was only slightly decreased with the R26L, R42L, and K332L mutants. This suggested that the K404 residue may be a major site of inhibition by chloride in the wild-type carrier. These studies indicate the important role that some positively charged residues within transmembrane domains of RFC1 play in RFC1 function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine