Human and Drosophila UDP-galactose transporters transport UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine in addition to UDP-galactose

Eur J Biochem. 2002 Jan;269(1):128-38. doi: 10.1046/j.0014-2956.2001.02632.x.


A putative Drosophila nucleotide sugar transporter was characterized and shown to be the Drosophila homologue of the human UDP-Gal transporter (hUGT). When the Drosophila melanogaster UDP-Gal transporter (DmUGT) was expressed in mammalian cells, the transporter protein was localized in the Golgi membranes and complemented the UDP-Gal transport deficiency of Lec8 cells but not the CMP-Sia transport deficiency of Lec2 cells. DmUGT and hUGT were expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells in functionally active forms. Using microsomal vesicles isolated from Saccharomyces cerevisiae expressing these transporters, we unexpectedly found that both hUGT and DmUGT could transport UDP-GalNAc as well as UDP-Gal. When amino-acid residues that are conserved among human, murine, fission yeast and Drosophila UGTs, but are distinct from corresponding ones conserved among CMP-Sia transporters (CSTs), were substituted by those found in CST, the mutant transporters were still active in transporting UDP-Gal. One of these mutants in which Asn47 was substituted by Ala showed aberrant intracellular distribution with concomitant destabilization of the protein product. However, this mutation was suppressed by an Ile51 to Thr second-site mutation. Both residues were localized within the first transmembrane helix, suggesting that the structure of the helix contributes to the stabilization and substrate recognition of the UGT molecule.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Transport
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / chemistry
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Uridine Diphosphate Galactose / metabolism*
  • Uridine Diphosphate N-Acetylglucosamine / metabolism*


  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • UDP-galactose translocator
  • Uridine Diphosphate Galactose
  • Uridine Diphosphate N-Acetylglucosamine

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB055493