Counterflow of L-glutamate in plasma membrane vesicles and reconstituted preparations from rat brain

Biochemistry. 1990 Dec 25;29(51):11209-14. doi: 10.1021/bi00503a008.


Membrane vesicles from rat brain exhibit sodium-dependent uptake of L-[3H]glutamate in the absence of any transmembrane ion gradients. The substrate specificity of the process is identical with (Na+ + K+)-coupled L-glutamate accumulation. Although these vesicles are prepared after osmotic shock and are washed repeatedly, they contain about 1.5 nmol/mg of protein endogenous L-glutamate, apparently located inside the vesicles. The affinity of the process (Km approximately 1 microM) is similar to that of (Na+ + K+)-dependent accumulation by the L-glutamate transporter. Membrane vesicles have been disrupted by the detergent cholate, and the solubilized proteins have been subsequently reconstituted into liposomes. The reconstituted proteoliposomes also exhibit the above uptake--with the same characteristics--provided they contain entrapped cold L-glutamate. Counterflow is optimal when sodium is present on both sides of the membrane, but partial activity is still observed when sodium is present either on the inside or on the outside. Increasing the L-glutamate concentration above the Km results in counterflow completely independent of cis sodium. The initial rate of counterflow is 100-200-fold lower than that of net trans potassium dependent flux. The rate of net flux in the presence of trans sodium or lithium is about 10-fold lower than when choline or Tris are used instead. However, the rate of counterflow (no internal potassium present) was not stimulated by replacing internal sodium or lithium by internal choline. Therefore, optimal functioning of the transporter requires internal potassium while internal sodium and lithium are inhibitory.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Glutamates / metabolism*
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Potassium / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Sodium / pharmacology
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Synaptic Membranes / metabolism*
  • Tritium


  • Glutamates
  • Tritium
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Sodium
  • Potassium