Functional and mechanistic roles of the human proton-coupled folate transporter transmembrane domain 6-7 linker.
ABSTRACT: The proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT; SLC46A1) is a folate-proton symporter expressed in solid tumors and is used for tumor-targeted delivery of cytotoxic antifolates. Topology modeling suggests that the PCFT secondary structure includes 12 transmembrane domains (TMDs) with TMDs 6 and 7 linked by an intracellular loop (positions 236-265) including His247, implicated as functionally important. Single-cysteine (Cys) mutants were inserted from positions 241 to 251 in Cys-less PCFT and mutant proteins were expressed in PCFT-null (R1-11) HeLa cells; none were reactive with 2-aminoethyl methanethiosulfonate biotin, suggesting that the TMD6-7 loop is intracellular. Twenty-nine single alanine mutants spanning the entire TMD6-7 loop were expressed in R1-11 cells; activity was generally preserved, with the exception of the 247, 250, and 251 mutants, partly due to decreased surface expression. Coexpression of PCFT TMD1-6 and TMD7-12 half-molecules in R1-11 cells partially restored transport activity, although removal of residues 252-265 from TMD7-12 abolished transport. Chimeric proteins, including a nonhomologous sequence from a thiamine transporter (ThTr1) inserted into the PCFT TMD6-7 loop (positions 236-250 or 251-265), were active, although replacement of the entire loop with the ThTr1 sequence resulted in substantial loss of activity. Amino acid replacements (Ala, Arg, His, Gln, and Glu) or deletions at position 247 in wild-type and PCFT-ThTr1 chimeras resulted in differential effects on transport. Collectively, our findings suggest that the PCFT TMD6-7 connecting loop confers protein stability and may serve a unique functional role that depends on secondary structure rather than particular sequence elements.
Project description:The proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT, SLC46A1) is required for intestinal folate absorption and folate homeostasis in humans. A homology model of PCFT, based upon theEscherichia coliglycerol 3-phosphate transporter structure, predicted that PCFT transmembrane domains (TMDs) 1, 2, 7, and 11 form an extracellular gate in the inward-open conformation. To assess this model, five residues (Gln(45)-TMD1, Asn(90)-TMD2, Leu(290)-TMD7, Ser(407)-TMD11 and Asn(411)-TMD11) in the predicted gate were substituted with Cys to generate single and nine double mutants. Transport function of the mutants was assayed in transient transfectants by measurement of [(3)H]substrate influx as was accessibility of the Cys residues to biotinylation. Pairs of Cys residues were assessed for spontaneous formation of a disulfide bond, induction of a disulfide bond by oxidization with dichloro(1,10-phenanthroline)copper (II) (CuPh), or the formation of a Cd(2+)complex. The data were consistent with the formation of a spontaneous disulfide bond between the N90C/S407C pair and a CuPh- and Cd(2+)-induced disulfide bond and complex, respectively, for the Q45C/L290C and L290C/N411C pairs. The decrease in activity induced by cross-linkage of the Cys residue pairs was due to a decrease in the influxVmaxconsistent with restriction in the mobility of the transporter. The presence of folate substrate decreased the CuPh-induced inhibition of transport. Hence, the data support the glycerol 3-phosphate transporter-based homology model of PCFT and the presence of an extracellular gate formed by TMDs 1, 2, 7, and 11.
Project description:The reduced folate carrier (RFC; SLC19A1) is closely related to the thiamine transporter, SLC19A2 (ThTr1). Hydropathy models for these homologous transporters predict up to 12 transmembrane domains (TMDs), with internally oriented N- and C-termini and a large central loop between TMDs 6 and 7. The homologies are localized mostly in the TMDs. However, there is little similarity in their N- and C-terminal domains and the central peptide linkers connecting putative TMDs 1-6 and TMDs 7-12. To explore the functional role of the 61-amino acid central linker in the human RFC (hRFC), we introduced deletions of 49 and 60 amino acids into this region, differing by the presence of a stretch of 11 highly conserved amino acids between the human and rodent RFCs (positions 204-214). An additional hRFC construct was prepared in which only the 11 conserved amino acids were deleted. The resulting hRFC(D215-R263 Delta), hRFC(K204-R263 Delta) and hRFC(K204-R214 Delta) proteins were transfected into transport-impaired K562 cells. The deletion constructs were all expressed in plasma membranes; however, they were completely inactive for methotrexate and (6 S )5-formyl tetrahydrofolate transport. Insertion of non-homologous 73- and 84-amino acid fragments from the structurally analogous ThTr1 linker region into position 204 of hRFC(K204-R263 Delta) restored low levels of transport (16-21% of the wild type). Insertion of the ThTr1 linkers into hRFC(D215-R263 Delta) at position 215 restored 60-80% of wild-type levels of transport. Collectively, our results suggest that the role of the hRFC linker peptide is to provide the proper spatial orientation between the two halves of the hRFC protein for optimal function, and that this is largely independent of amino acid sequence. Our results also demonstrate a critical transport role for the stretch of 11 conserved amino acids starting at position 204 of hRFC.
Project description:The proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT) mediates intestinal absorption of folates and their transport from blood to cerebrospinal fluid across the choroid plexus. Substitutions at Asp-109 in the first intracellular loop between the first and second transmembrane domains (TMDs) abolish PCFT function, but protein expression and trafficking to the cell membrane are retained. Here, we used site-directed mutagenesis, the substituted-cysteine accessibility method, functional analyses, and homology modeling to determine whether the D109A substitution locks PCFT in one of its conformational states. Cys-substituted residues lining the PCFT aqueous translocation pathway and accessible in WT PCFT to the membrane-impermeable cysteine-biotinylation reagent, MTSEA-biotin, lost accessibility when introduced into the D109A scaffold. Substitutions at Gly-305 located exofacially within the eighth TMD, particularly with bulky residues, when introduced into the D109A scaffold largely restored function and MTSEA-biotin accessibility to Cys-substituted residues within the pathway. Likewise, Ser-196 substitution in the fifth TMD, predicted by homology modeling to be in proximity to Gly-305, also partially restored function found in solute transporters, is critical to oscillation of the carrier among its conformational states. Substitutions at Asp-109 and Gly-112 lock PCFT in an inward-open conformation, resulting in the loss of function. However, the integrity of the locked protein is preserved, indicated by the restoration of function after insertion of a second "unlocking" mutation. and accessibility. Similarly, the inactivating G112K substitution within the first intracellular loop was partially reactivated by introducing the G305L substitution. These data indicate that the first intracellular loop, with a sequence identical to "motif A" (GXXXDXXGR(R/K)).
Project description:This laboratory recently identified a novel proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT) that mediates intestinal folate absorption and transport of folates into the central nervous system. The present study focuses on the definition of the minimum transcriptional regulatory region of this gene in HeLa cells and the mechanism(s) underlying the loss of PCFT expression in the methotrexate-resistant HeLa R1-11 cell line. The PCFT transcriptional regulatory controls were localized between -42 and +96 bases from the transcriptional start site using a luciferase-reporter gene system. The promoter is a G + C rich region of 139 nucleotides contained in a CpG island. HeLa R1-11 cells have no mutations in the PCFT open reading frame and its promoter; the transcription/translation machinery is intact because transient transfections in HeLa R1-11 and wild-type HeLa cells produced similar luciferase activities. Hypermethylation at CpG sites within the minimal transcriptional regulatory region was shown in HeLa R1-11 cells as compared with the parental PCFT-competent HeLa cells, using bisulfite conversion and sequence analysis. Treatment with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine resulted in a substantial restoration of transport and PCFT mRNA expression and small but significant decreases in methylation in the promoter region. In vitro methylation of the transfected reporter plasmid inhibited luciferase gene expression. Cytogenetics/fluorescence in situ hybridization indicated a loss of half the PCFT gene copies in HeLa R1-11 as compared with PCFT-competent HeLa cells. Taken together, promoter silencing through methylation and gene copy loss accounted for the loss of PCFT activity in antifolate-resistant HeLa R1-11 cells.
Project description:The proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT) is a proton-folate symporter with an acidic pH optimum. By real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, PCFT was expressed in the majority of 53 human tumor cell lines, with the highest levels in Caco-2 (colorectal adenocarcinoma), SKOV3 (ovarian), and HepG2 (hepatoma) cells. A novel 6-substituted pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine thienoyl antifolate (compound 1) was used to establish whether PCFT can deliver cytotoxic drug under pH conditions that mimic the tumor microenvironment. Both 1 and pemetrexed (Pmx) inhibited proliferation of R1-11-PCFT4 HeLa cells engineered to express PCFT without the reduced folate carrier (RFC) and of HepG2 cells expressing both PCFT and RFC. Unlike Pmx, 1 did not inhibit proliferation of R1-11-RFC6 HeLa cells, which express RFC without PCFT. Treatment of R1-11-PCFT4 cells at pH 6.8 with 1 or Pmx inhibited colony formation with dose and time dependence. Transport of [(3)H]compound 1 into R1-11-PCFT4 and HepG2 cells was optimal at pH 5.5 but appreciable at pH 6.8. At pH 6.8, [(3)H]compound 1 was metabolized to (3)H-labeled polyglutamates. Glycinamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase (GARFTase) in R1-11-PCFT4 cells was inhibited by 1 at pH 6.8, as measured by an in situ GARFTase assay, and was accompanied by substantially reduced ATP levels. Compound 1 caused S-phase accumulation and a modest level of apoptosis. An in vivo efficacy trial with severe combined immunodeficient mice implanted with subcutaneous HepG2 tumors showed that compound 1 was active. Our findings suggest exciting new therapeutic possibilities to selectively deliver novel antifolate drugs via transport by PCFT over RFC by exploiting the acidic tumor microenvironment.
Project description:We examined whether the novel 6-substituted pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine thienoyl antifolate, compound 2, might be an effective treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), reflecting its selective membrane transport by the proton-coupled folate transport (PCFT) over the reduced folate carrier (RFC).HeLa sublines expressing exclusively PCFT (R1-11-PCFT4) or RFC (R1-11-RFC6) and H2452 MPM cells were assayed for transport with [(3)H]compound 2. [(3)H]Polyglutamate metabolites of compound 2 were measured in R1-11-PCFT4 and H2452 cells. In vitro cell proliferation assays and colony formation assays were performed. Inhibition of glycinamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase (GARFTase) was assayed by nucleoside protection assays and in situ GARFTase assays with [(14)C]glycine. In vivo efficacy was established with early- and advanced-stage H2452 xenografts in severe-combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice administered intravenous compound 2.[(3)H]Compound 2 was selectively transported by PCFT and was metabolized to polyglutamates. Compound 2 selectively inhibited proliferation of R1-11-PCFT4 cells over R1-11-RFC6 cells. H2452 human MPM cells were sensitive to the antiproliferative effects of compound 2. By colony-forming assays with H2452 cells, compound 2 was cytotoxic. Compound 2 inhibited GARFTase in de novo purine biosynthesis. In vivo efficacy was confirmed toward early- and advanced-stage H2452 xenografts in SCID mice administered compound 2.Our results demonstrate potent antitumor efficacy of compound 2 toward H2452 MPM cells in vitro and in vivo, reflecting its efficient membrane transport by PCFT, synthesis of polyglutamates, and inhibition of GARFTase. Selectivity for non-RFC cellular uptake processes by tumor-targeted antifolates such as compound 2 presents an exciting new opportunity for treating solid tumors.
Project description:RFC (reduced folate carrier) is the major transporter for reduced folates and antifolates [e.g. MTX (methotrexate)]. RFC is characterized by two halves, each with six TMD (transmembrane domain) alpha helices connected by a hydrophilic loop, and cytoplasmic N- and C-termini. We previously identified TMDs 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 as forming the hydrophilic cavity for translocation of (anti)folates. The proximal end of TMD8 (positions 311-314) was implicated in substrate binding from scanning-cysteine accessibility methods; cysteine replacement of Ser313 resulted in loss of transport. In the present study, Ser313 was mutated to alanine, cysteine, phenylalanine and threonine. Mutant RFCs were expressed in RFC-null R5 HeLa cells. Replacement of Ser313 with cysteine or phenylalanine abolished MTX transport, whereas residual activity was preserved for the alanine and threonine mutants. In stable K562 transfectants, S313A and S313T RFCs showed substantially decreased Vmax values without changes in Kt values for MTX compared with wild-type RFC. S313A and S313T RFCs differentially impacted binding of ten diverse (anti)folate substrates. Cross-linking between TMD8 and TMD5 was studied by expressing cysteine-less TMD1-6 (N6) and TMD7-12 (C6) half-molecules with cysteine insertions spanning these helices in R5 cells, followed by treatment with thiol-reactive homobifunctional cross-linkers. C6-C6 and N6-N6 cross-links were seen for all cysteine pairs. From the N6 and C6 cysteine pairs, Cys175/Cys311 was cross-linked; cross-linking increased in the presence of transport substrates. The results of the present study indicate that the proximal end of TMD8 is juxtaposed to TMD5 and is conformationally active in the presence of transport substrates, and TMD8, including Ser313, probably contributes to the RFC substrate-binding domain.
Project description:The reduced folate carrier (RFC, SLC19A1), thiamine transporter-1 (ThTr1, SLC19A2) and thiamine transporter-2 (ThTr2, SLC19A3) evolved from the same family of solute carriers. SLC19A1 transports folates but not thiamine. SLC19A2 and SLC19A3 transport thiamine but not folates. SLC19A1 and SLC19A2 deliver their substrates to systemic tissues; SLC19A3 mediates intestinal thiamine absorption. The proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT, SLC46A1) is the mechanism by which folates are absorbed across the apical-brush-border membrane of the proximal small intestine. Two folate receptors (FOLR1 and FOLR2) mediate folate transport across epithelia by an endocytic process. Folate transporters are routes of delivery of drugs for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases. There are autosomal recessive disorders associated with mutations in genes encoded for SLC46A1 (hereditary folate malabsorption), FOLR1 (cerebral folate deficiency), SLC19A2 (thiamine-responsive megaloblastic anemia), and SLC19A3 (biotin-responsive basal ganglia disease).
Project description:The NMR structure of the rat calreticulin P-domain, comprising residues 189-288, CRT(189-288), shows a hairpin fold that involves the entire polypeptide chain, has the two chain ends in close spatial proximity, and does not fold back on itself. This globally extended structure is stabilized by three antiparallel beta-sheets, with the beta-strands comprising the residues 189-192 and 276-279, 206-209 and 262-265, and 223-226 and 248-251, respectively. The hairpin loop of residues 227-247 and the two connecting regions between the beta-sheets contain a hydrophobic cluster, where each of the three clusters includes two highly conserved tryptophyl residues, one from each strand of the hairpin. The three beta-sheets and the three hydrophobic clusters form a repeating pattern of interactions across the hairpin that reflects the periodicity of the amino acid sequence, which consists of three 17-residue repeats followed by three 14-residue repeats. Within the global hairpin fold there are two well-ordered subdomains comprising the residues 219-258, and 189-209 and 262-284, respectively. These are separated by a poorly ordered linker region, so that the relative orientation of the two subdomains cannot be precisely described. The structure type observed for CRT(189-288) provides an additional basis for functional studies of the abundant endoplasmic reticulum chaperone calreticulin.
Project description:The proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT-SLC46A1) is required for intestinal folate absorption and is mutated in the autosomal recessive disorder, hereditary folate malabsorption (HFM). This report characterizes properties and requirements of the R376 residue in PCFT function, including a R376Q mutant associated with HFM. Gln, Cys, and Ala substitutions resulted in markedly impaired transport of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate (5-FTHF) and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) due to an increase in K(m) and decrease in V(max) in HeLa R1-11 transfectants lacking endogenous folate transport function. In contrast, although the influx K(m) for pemetrexed was increased, transport was fully preserved at saturating concentrations and enhanced for the like-charged R376K- and R376H-PCFT. Pemetrexed and 5-FTHF influx mediated by R376Q-PCFT was markedly decreased at pH 5.5 compared with wild-type PCFT. However, while pemetrexed transport was substantially preserved at low pH (4.5-5.0), 5-FTHF transport remained very low. Electrophysiological studies in Xenopus oocytes demonstrated that 1) the R376Q mutant, like wild-type PCFT, transports protons in the absence of folate substrate, and in this respect has channel-like properties; and 2) the influx K(m) mediated by R376Q-PCFT is increased for 5-MTHF, 5-FTHF, and pemetrexed. The data suggest that mutation of the R376 residue to Gln impairs proton binding which, in turn, modulates the folate-binding pocket and depresses the rate of conformational alteration of the carrier, a change that appears to be, in part, substrate dependent.