CHL1 (AtNRT1.1) is a dual-affinity nitrate transporter of Arabidopsis thaliana, in which phosphorylation at Thr 101 switches CHL1 from low to high nitrate affinity. CHL1 expressed in a Hansenula polymorpha high-affinity nitrate-transporter deficient mutant (Δynt1) restores nitrate uptake and growth. These events take place at nitrate concentrations as low as 500 μM, suggesting that CHL1 has a high-affinity for nitrate in yeast. Accordingly, CHL1 expressed in H. polymorpha presents a K m for nitrate of about 125 μM. The absence of nitrate, the CHL1 gene inducer, showed the high turnover rate of CHL1 expressed in yeast, which is counteracted by nitrate CHL1 induction. Furthermore, H. polymorpha strains expressing CHL1 become sensitive to 250 μM chlorate, as expected for CHL1 high-affinity behaviour. Given that CHL1 presented high affinity by nitrate, we study the role of CHL1 Thr101 in yeast. Strains producing CHL1Thr101Ala, unable to undergo phosphorylation, and CHL1Thr101Asp, where CHL1 phosphorylation is constitutively mimicked, were used. Yeast strains expressing CHL1Thr101Ala, CHL1Thr101Asp and CHL1 at the same rate showed that Δynt1CHL1Thr101Ala is strikingly unable to transport nitrate and contains a very low amount of CHL1 protein; however, Δynt1CHL1Thr101Asp restores nitrate uptake and growth, although no significant changes in nitrate affinity were observed. Our results show that CHL1-Thr101 is involved in regulating the levels of CHL1 expressed in yeast and suggest that the phosphorylation of this residue could be involved in targeting this nitrate transporter to the plasma membrane. The functional expression of CHL1 in H. polymorpha reveals that this yeast is a suitable tool for evaluating the real nitrate transport capacity of plant putative nitrate transporters belonging to different families and study their regulation and structure function relationship.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 19, 2008
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