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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Arg188 in rice sucrose transporter OsSUT1 is crucial for substrate transport

Ye Sun and John M Ward*

Author Affiliations

Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN, 55108, USA

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BMC Biochemistry 2012, 13:26  doi:10.1186/1471-2091-13-26

Published: 21 November 2012



Plant sucrose uptake transporters (SUTs) are H+/sucrose symporters related to the major facilitator superfamily (MFS). SUTs are essential for plant growth but little is known about their transport mechanism. Recent work identified several conserved, charged amino acids within transmembrane spans (TMS) in SUTs that are essential for transport activity. Here we further evaluated the role of one of these positions, R188 in the fourth TMS of OsSUT1, a type II SUT.


The OsSUT1(R188K) mutant, studied by expression in plants, yeast, and Xenopus oocytes, did not transport sucrose but showed a H+ leak that was blocked by sucrose. The H+ leak was also blocked by β-phenyl glucoside which is not translocated by OsSUT1. Replacing the corresponding Arg in type I and type III SUTs, AtSUC1(R163K) and LjSUT4(R169K), respectively, also resulted in loss of sucrose transport activity. Fluorination at the glucosyl 3 and 4 positions of α-phenyl glucoside greatly decreased transport by wild type OsSUT1 but did not affect the ability to block H+ leak in the R188K mutant.


OsSUT1 R188 appears to be essential for sucrose translocation but not for substrate interaction that blocks H+ leak. Therefore, we propose that an additional binding site functions in the initial recognition of substrates. The corresponding Arg in type I and III SUTs are equally important. We propose that R188 interacts with glucosyl 3-OH and 4-OH during translocation.

Sucrose transporter; Major facilitator superfamily; Substrate binding; Mutagenesis