Kinetic mechanism of Na+-coupled aspartate transport catalyzed by GltTk

Commun Biol. 2021 Jun 17;4(1):751. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-02267-y.


It is well-established that the secondary active transporters GltTk and GltPh catalyze coupled uptake of aspartate and three sodium ions, but insight in the kinetic mechanism of transport is fragmentary. Here, we systematically measured aspartate uptake rates in proteoliposomes containing purified GltTk, and derived the rate equation for a mechanism in which two sodium ions bind before and another after aspartate. Re-analysis of existing data on GltPh using this equation allowed for determination of the turnover number (0.14 s-1), without the need for error-prone protein quantification. To overcome the complication that purified transporters may adopt right-side-out or inside-out membrane orientations upon reconstitution, thereby confounding the kinetic analysis, we employed a rapid method using synthetic nanobodies to inactivate one population. Oppositely oriented GltTk proteins showed the same transport kinetics, consistent with the use of an identical gating element on both sides of the membrane. Our work underlines the value of bona fide transport experiments to reveal mechanistic features of Na+-aspartate symport that cannot be observed in detergent solution. Combined with previous pre-equilibrium binding studies, a full kinetic mechanism of structurally characterized aspartate transporters of the SLC1A family is now emerging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport / physiology*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 3 / genetics
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 3 / metabolism*
  • Proteolipids / metabolism
  • Pyrococcus horikoshii / genetics
  • Pyrococcus horikoshii / metabolism
  • Sodium / metabolism*
  • Thermococcus / genetics
  • Thermococcus / metabolism


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 3
  • Proteolipids
  • proteoliposomes
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Sodium