The glutamate transporter excitatory amino acid carrier (EAAC1/EAAT3) mediates the absorption of dicarboxylic amino acids in epithelial cells as well as the uptake of glutamate from the synaptic cleft. Its cell-surface density is regulated by interaction with accessory proteins which remain to be identified. We detected a consensus sequence for interaction with post-synaptic density-95/Discs large/Zonula occludens (PDZ) proteins (-SQF) and a tyrosine-based internalization signal (-YVNG-) in the C-terminus of EAAC1, and investigated their role in the transporter localization. We demonstrated that PDZ interactions are required for the efficient delivery to and the retention in the plasma membrane of EAAC1 and we identified PDZK1/NHERF3 (Na+/H+-exchanger regulatory factor 3) as a novel EAAC1 interacting protein. Expression of PDZK1 in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells tethered EAAC1 to filopodia and increased its surface activity. Removal of the PDZ-target motif promoted the EAAC1 binding to α-adaptin and clathrin and the transporter internalization in endocytic/degradative compartments. This defect was largely prevented by hypertonic treatment or overexpression of the dominant-negative µ2-W421A-subunit of AP-2 clathrin-adaptor. The rate of transporter endocytosis was attenuated following tyrosine mutagenesis in the internalization signal, thus indicating that this motif can regulate the transporter endocytosis. We suggest that EAAC1 density is controlled by balanced interactions with PDZK1 and adaptor protein 2 (AP2): the former promotes the transporter expression at the cell surface, and the latter mediates its constitutive endocytosis.
© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.