The four major N- and C-terminal splice variants of the excitatory amino acid transporter GLT-1 form cell surface homomeric and heteromeric assemblies
Peacey, E., Miller, C. C., Dunlop, J. and Rattray, M. (2009) The four major N- and C-terminal splice variants of the excitatory amino acid transporter GLT-1 form cell surface homomeric and heteromeric assemblies. Molecular Pharmacology, 75 (5). pp. 1062-1073. ISSN 1521-0111
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The L-glutamate transporter GLT-1 is an abundant CNS membrane protein of the excitatory amino acid transporter (EAAT) family which controls extracellular L-glutamate levels and is important in limiting excitotoxic neuronal death. Using RT-PCR, we have determined that four mRNAs encoding GLT-1 exist in mouse brain, with the potential to encode four GLT-1 isoforms that differ in their N- and C-termini. We expressed all four isoforms (termed MAST-KREK, MPK-KREK, MAST-DIETCI and MPK-DIETCI according to amino acid sequence) in a range of cell lines and primary astrocytes and show that each isoform can reach the cell surface. In transfected HEK-293 or COS-7 cells, all four isoforms support high-affinity sodium-dependent L-glutamate uptake with identical pharmacological and kinetic properties. Inserting a viral epitope (V5, HA or FLAG) into the second extracellular domain of each isoform allowed co-immunoprecipitation and tr-FRET studies using transfected HEK-293 cells. Here we show for the first time that each of the four isoforms are able to combine to form homomeric and heteromeric assemblies, each of which are expressed at the cell surface of primary astrocytes. After activation of protein kinase C by phorbol ester, V5-tagged GLT-1 is rapidly removed from the cell surface of HEK-293 cells and degraded. This study provides direct biochemical evidence for oligomeric assembly of GLT-1 and reports the development of novel tools to provide insight into the trafficking of GLT-1.