Cysteine mutagenesis reveals alternate proximity between transmembrane domain 2 and hairpin loop 1 of the glutamate transporter EAAT1

Amino Acids. 2014 Jul;46(7):1697-705. doi: 10.1007/s00726-014-1731-1. Epub 2014 Apr 2.


Excitatory amino acid transporter 1 (EAAT1) plays an important role in restricting the neurotoxicity of glutamate. Previous structure-function studies have provided evidence that reentrant helical hairpin loop (HP) 1 has predominant function during the transport cycle. The proposed internal gate HP1 is packed against transmembrane domain (TM) 2 and TM5 in its closed state, and two residues located in TM2 and HP2 of EAAT1 are in close proximity. However, the spatial relationship between TM2 and HP1 during the transport cycle remains unknown. In this study, we used chemical cross-linking of introduced cysteine pair (V96C and S366C) in a cysteine-less version of EAAT1 to assess the proximity of TM2 and HP1. Here, we show that inhibition of transport by copper(II)(1,10-phenanthroline)3 (CuPh) and cadmium ion (Cd(2+)) were observed in the V96C/S366C mutant. Glutamate or potassium significantly protected against the inhibition of transport activity of V96C/S366C by CuPh, while TBOA potentiated the inhibition of transport activity of V96C/S366C by CuPh. We also checked the kinetic parameters of V96C/S366C treated with or without CuPh in the presence of NaCl, NaCl + L-glutamate, NaCl + TBOA, and KCl, respectively. The sensitivity of V96C and S366C to membrane-impermeable sulfhydryl reagent MTSET [(2-trimethylammonium) methanethiosulfonate] was attenuated by glutamate or potassium. TBOA had no effect on the sensitivity of V96C and S366C to MTSET. These data suggest that the spatial relationship between Val-96 of TM2 and Ser-366 of HP1 is altered in the transport cycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Aspartic Acid / pharmacology
  • Cadmium Chloride / pharmacology
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Cysteine / chemistry
  • Cysteine / genetics*
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Dithiothreitol / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 1 / chemistry*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 1 / genetics*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 1 / metabolism
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Glutamic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • HeLa Cells / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Phenanthrolines / pharmacology
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 1
  • Phenanthrolines
  • Slc1a3 protein, rat
  • benzyloxyaspartate
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Cadmium Chloride
  • Cysteine
  • Dithiothreitol
  • 1,10-phenanthroline