The human amino acid transporter SLC1A5 (ASCT2) contains two N-glycosylation sites (N163 and N212) located in the large extracellular loop. In the homology structural model of ASCT2 these Asn residues are extracellularly exposed. Mutants of the two Asn exhibited altered electrophoretic mobility. N163Q and N212Q displayed multiple bands with apparent molecular masses from 80kDa to 50 kDa. N163/212Q displayed a single band of 50kDa corresponding to the unglycosylated protein. The presence in membrane of WT and mutants was evaluated by protein biotinylation assay followed by immunoblotting. The double mutation significantly impaired the presence of the protein in membrane, without impairment in protein synthesis. [<sup>3</sup>H]glutamine transport was measured in cells transiently transfected with the WT or mutants. N163/212Q exhibited a strongly reduced transport activity correlating with reduced surface expression. The same proteins extracted from cells and reconstituted in liposomes showed comparable transport activities demonstrating that the intrinsic transport function of the mutants was not affected. The rate of endocytosis of ASCT2 was assayed by a reversible biotinylation strategy. N212Q and N163/212Q showed strongly increased rates of endocytosis respect to WT. ASCT2 stability was determined using cycloheximide. N163Q or N163/212Q showed a slightly or significantly lower stability with respect to WT. To assess trafficking to the membrane, a brefeldin-based assay, which caused retention of proteins in ER, was performed. One hour after brefeldin removal WT protein was localized to the plasma membrane while the double mutant was localized in the cytosol. The results demonstrate that N-glycosylation is critical for trafficking.
Console, L., Scalise, M., Tarmakova, Z., Coe, I. R., & Indiveri, C. (2015). N-linked Glycosylation of human SLC1A5 (ASCT2) transporter is critical for trafficking to membrane. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research, 1853(7), 1636–1645. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamcr.2015.03.017