The proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT) SLC46A1 mediates uphill folate transport into enterocytes in proximal small intestine coupled to the inwardly directed proton gradient. Hereditary folate malabsorption is due to loss-of-function mutations in the PCFT gene. This study addresses the functional role of conserved charged amino acid residues within PCFT transmembrane domains with a detailed analysis of the PCFT E185 residue. D156A-, E185A-, E232A-, R148A-, and R376A-PCFT mutants lost function at pH 5.5, as assessed by transient transfection in folate transport-deficient HeLa cells. At pH 7.4, function was preserved only for E185A-PCFT. Loss of function for E185A-PCFT at pH 5.5 was due to an eightfold decrease in the [3H]methotrexate (MTX) influx V max; the MTX influx Kt was identical to that of wild-type (WT)-PCFT (1.5 μM). Consistent with the intrinsic functionality of E185A-PCFT, [3H]MTX influx at pH 5.5 or 7.4 was trans-stimulated in cells preloaded with nonlabeled MTX or 5-formyltetrahydrofolate. Replacement of E185 with Leu, Cys, His, or Gln resulted in a phenotype similar to E185A-PCFT. However, there was greater preservation of activity (∼38% of WT) for the similarly charged E185D-PCFT at pH 5.5. All E185 substitution mutants were biotin accessible at the plasma membrane at a level comparable to WT-PCFT. These observations suggest that the E185 residue plays an important role in the coupled flows of protons and folate mediated by PCFT. Coupling appears to have a profound effect on the maximum rate of transport, consistent with augmentation of a rate-limiting step in the PCFT transport cycle.
- Folate transport
- Heme carrier protein-1
- Hereditary folate malabsorption
- Proton-coupled folate transporter/heme carrier protein-1
- Proton-coupled transporters
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology