PAT1 is a recently identified member of the PAT family of proton/amino acid co-transporters with predominant expression in the plasma membrane of enterocytes and in lysosomal membranes of neurons. Previous studies in Xenopus oocytes expressing PAT1 established proton/substrate co-transport associated with positive inward currents for a variety of small neutral amino acids. Here we provide a detailed analysis of the transport mode of the murine PAT1 in oocytes using the two-electrode voltage-clamp technique to measure steady-state and pre-steady-state currents. The GPC (giant patch clamp) technique and efflux studies were employed to characterize the reversed transport mode. Kinetic parameters [Km (Michaelis constant) and Imax (maximum current)] for transport of various substrates revealed a dependence on membrane potential: hyperpolarization increases the substrate affinity and maximal transport velocity. Proton affinity for interaction with PAT1 is almost 100 nM, corresponding to a pH of 7.0 and is independent of substrate. Kinetic analysis revealed that binding of proton most likely occurs before substrate binding and that the proton and substrate are translocated in a simultaneous step. No evidence for a substrate-uncoupled proton shunt was observed. As shown by efflux studies and current measurements by the GPC technique, PAT1 allows bidirectional amino acid transport. Surprisingly, PAT1 exhibits no pre-steady-state currents in the absence of substrate, even at low temperatures, and therefore PAT1 takes an exceptional position among the ion-coupled co-transporters.

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