Protein Phylogenetic Analysis of Ca2+/cation Antiporters and Insights into their Evolution in Plants
The Na(+)-Ca2+ exchanger contains internal regions of sequence homology known as the alpha repeats. The first region (alpha-1 repeat) includes parts of transmembrane segments (TMSs) 2 and 3 and a linker modeled to be a reentrant loop. To determine the involvement of the reentrant loop and TMS 3 portions of the alpha-1 repeat in exchanger function, we generated a series of mutants and examined ion binding and transport and regulatory properties. Mutations in the reentrant loop did not substantially modify transport properties of the exchanger though the Hill coefficient for Na+ and the rate of Na(+)-dependent inactivation were decreased. Mutations in TMS 3 had more striking effects on exchanger activity. Of mutations at 10 positions, 3 behaved like the wild-type exchanger (V137C, A141C, M144C). Mutants at two other positions expressed no activity (Ser139) or very low activity (Gly138). Six different mutations were made at position 143; only N143D was active, and it displayed wild-type characteristics. The highly specific requirement for an asparagine or aspartate residue at this position may indicate a key role for Asn143 in the transport mechanism. Mutations at residues Ala140 and Ile147 decreased affinity for intracellular Na+, whereas mutations at Phe145 increased Na+ affinity. The cooperativity of Na+ binding was also altered. In no case was Ca2+ affinity changed. TMS 3 may form part of a site that binds Na+ but not Ca2+. We conclude that TMS 3 is involved in Na+ binding and transport, but previously proposed roles for the reentrant loop need to be reevaluated.