Trehalose transporter 1, a facilitated and high-capacity trehalose transporter, allows exogenous trehalose uptake into cells.
Trehalose is potentially a useful cryo- or anhydroprotectant molecule for cells and biomolecules such as proteins and nucleotides. A major obstacle to application is that cellular membranes are impermeable to trehalose. In this study, we isolated and characterized the functions of a facilitated trehalose transporter [trehalose transporter 1 (TRET1)] from an anhydrobiotic insect, Polypedilum vanderplanki. Tret1 cDNA encodes a 504-aa protein with 12 predicted transmembrane structures. Tret1 expression was induced by either desiccation or salinity stress. Expression was predominant in the fat body and occurred concomitantly with the accumulation of trehalose, indicating that TRET1 is involved in transporting trehalose synthesized in the fat body into the hemolymph. Functional expression of TRET1 in Xenopus oocytes showed that transport activity was stereochemically specific for trehalose and independent of extracellular pH (between 4.0 and 9.0) and electrochemical membrane potential. These results indicate that TRET1 is a trehalose-specific facilitated transporter and that the direction of transport is reversible depending on the concentration gradient of trehalose. The extraordinarily high values for apparent Km (>or=100 mM) and Vmax (>or=500 pmol/min per oocyte) for trehalose both indicate that TRET1 is a high-capacity transporter of trehalose. Furthermore, TRET1 was found to function in mammalian cells, suggesting that it confers trehalose permeability on cells, including those of vertebrates as well as insects. These characteristic features imply that TRET1 in combination with trehalose has high potential for basic and practical applications in vivo.
PubMed ID: 17606922
PMC ID: PMC1905927
Article link: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.