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Amino acid uptake by Rhizobium leguminosarum is dominated by two ABC transporters, the general amino acid permease (Aap) and the branched-chain amino acid permease (Bra(Rl)). Characterization of the solute specificity of Bra(Rl) shows it to be the second general amino acid permease of R. leguminosarum. Although Bra(Rl) has high sequence identity to members of the family of hydrophobic amino acid transporters (HAAT), it transports a broad range of solutes, including acidic and basic polar amino acids (L-glutamate, L-arginine, and L-histidine), in addition to neutral amino acids (L-alanine and L-leucine). While amino and carboxyl groups are required for transport, solutes do not have to be alpha-amino acids. Consistent with this, Bra(Rl) is the first ABC transporter to be shown to transport gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). All previously identified bacterial GABA transporters are secondary carriers of the amino acid-polyamine-organocation (APC) superfamily. Also, transport by Bra(Rl) does not appear to be stereospecific as D amino acids cause significant inhibition of uptake of L-glutamate and L-leucine. Unlike all other solutes tested, L-alanine uptake is not dependent on solute binding protein BraC(Rl). Therefore, a second, unidentified solute binding protein may interact with the BraDEFG(Rl) membrane complex during L-alanine uptake. Overall, the data indicate that Bra(Rl) is a general amino acid permease of the HAAT family. Furthermore, Bra(Rl) has the broadest solute specificity of any characterized bacterial amino acid transporter.


Journal article


J Bacteriol

Publication Date





4071 - 4080


Amino Acid Transport Systems, Amino Acids, Branched-Chain, Biological Transport, Kinetics, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutation, Phylogeny, Rhizobium leguminosarum, Substrate Specificity, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid