This year we expanded this project to include both GltPh, a model for the EAAT family of glutamate transporters and a new protein, vcINDY, a succinate transproter which has been implicated in longevity and obesity. It is critical to understand the fundamental mechanisms by which there transporters function because such knowledge could lead to the development of therapeutic agents active against these proteins. We seek to analyze the dynamic movements of the functioning transporter on the way to a detailed understanding of its mechanism. Our approach is to analyze the details of transport in model transporters obtained from bacteria. These can be expressed and purified in large quantities and are amenable to biophysical methods not available for their mammalian cousins. We have continued our work using EPR spectroscopy to monitor conformational changes in GltPh. This work has identified local changes in the protein that may be important for coupling between the driving ion, Na+, and the substrate, aspartate. We are continuing work to identify the nature of this change. We recently reported that a extracellular loop of gltPH must be intact for effective transport. This year we probed the mechanism of this effect in detail and found that when the 34 loop is cut the proteins maintains substrate affinities but maximal transport is significantly reduced. We demonstrated that this effect relates to the activation energy of the substrate translocation step, implicating the loop in the piston like movement of the translocation domain. This year we also found that only the translocation of the substrate-bound form of the protein is affected--the apo, substrate-free transporter is unaffected by 34 loop cleavage. We have performed important controls eliminating alternative explanations for these effects and a paper describing this work is under review. This year we also began work on a new transporter, vcINDY, which is important for longevity in flies and is involved in obesity and insulin resistance in mammals. We performed the first successful functional reconstitution of vcINDY and directly demonstrated that it is a Na+ coupled succinate transporter. We have performed an extensive screen for substrates and identified that the protein carries three Na ions per succinate transpoted, that it is electrogenic (but does not have an uncoupled Cl- conductance) and that it primarily transports the doubly charged form of succinate. We are currently writing this work up for publication.

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Mulligan, Christopher; Fenollar-Ferrer, Cristina; Fitzgerald, Gabriel A et al. (2016) The bacterial dicarboxylate transporter VcINDY uses a two-domain elevator-type mechanism. Nat Struct Mol Biol 23:256-63
Vergara-Jaque, Ariela; Fenollar-Ferrer, Cristina; Mulligan, Christopher et al. (2015) Family resemblances: A common fold for some dimeric ion-coupled secondary transporters. J Gen Physiol 146:423-34
Mulligan, Christopher; Fitzgerald, Gabriel A; Wang, Da-Neng et al. (2014) Functional characterization of a Na+-dependent dicarboxylate transporter from Vibrio cholerae. J Gen Physiol 143:745-59
Parker, Joanne L; Mindell, Joseph A; Newstead, Simon (2014) Thermodynamic evidence for a dual transport mechanism in a POT peptide transporter. Elife 3:
Mulligan, Christopher; Mindell, Joseph A (2013) Mechanism of transport modulation by an extracellular loop in an archaeal excitatory amino acid transporter (EAAT) homolog. J Biol Chem 288:35266-76
Compton, Emma L R; Taylor, Erin M; Mindell, Joseph A (2010) The 3-4 loop of an archaeal glutamate transporter homolog experiences ligand-induced structural changes and is essential for transport. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107:12840-5
Ryan, Renae M; Compton, Emma L R; Mindell, Joseph A (2009) Functional characterization of a Na+-dependent aspartate transporter from Pyrococcus horikoshii. J Biol Chem 284:17540-8
Csanady, Laszlo; Mindell, Joseph A (2008) The twain shall meet: channels, transporters and things between. Meeting on Membrane Transport in Flux: the Ambiguous Interface Between Channels and Pumps. EMBO Rep 9:960-5