GadC, a central component of the Escherichia coli acid resistance system, is a Glu/GABA antiporter. A previous structural study and biochemical characterization showed that GadC exhibits a stringent pH dependence for substrate transport, with no detectable activity at pH values above 6.5. However, the substrate selectivity and the mechanism of pH-dependent transport activity of GadC remain enigmatic. In this study, we demonstrate that GadC selectively transports Glu with no net charge and GABA with a positive charge. A C-plug-truncated variant of GadC (residues 1-470) transported Gln (a mimic of Glu with no net charge), but not Glu, even at pH 8.0. The pH-dependent transport of Gln by this GadC variant was shifted ~1 unit toward a higher pH compared with Glu transport. Taken together, the results identify the substrate selectivity for GadC and show that the protonation states of substrates are crucial for transport.
Keywords: Acid Resistance; Amino Acid Transport; GadC; Glutamate; Glutamine; Membrane Antiporter; Membrane Proteins; Membrane Transporter Reconstitution; Protonation/Deprotonation; Substrate Selectivity.