, Volume 166, Issue 2, pp 244-251

Transport of basic amino acids in Riccia fluitans: Evidence for a second binding site

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Abstract

The transport of several amino acids with different side-chain characteristics has been investigated in the aquatic liverwort Riccia fluitans. i) The saturation of system I (neutral amino acids) by addition of excess α-aminoisobutyric acid to the external medium completely eliminated the electrical effects which are usually set off by neutral amino acids. Under these conditions arginine and lysine significantly depolarized the plasmalemma. ii) L- and D-lysine/arginine were discriminated against in favour of the L-isomers. iii) Increasing the external proton concentration in the interval pH 9 to 4.5 stimulated plasmalemma depolarization, electrical net current, and uptake of [14C]-basic amino acids. iv) Uptake of [14C]-glutamic acid took place only at acidic pHs. v) [14C]-histidine uptake had an optimum between pH 6 and 5.5. vi) Overlapping of the transport of basic, neutral, and acidic amino acids was common. It is suggested that besides system I, a second system (II), specific for basic amino acids, exists in the plasmalemma of Riccia fluitans. It is concluded that the amino-acid molecule with an uncharged side chain is the substrate for system I, which also binds and transports the neutral species of acidic amino acids, whereas system II is specific for amino acids with a positively charged side chain. The possibility of system II being a proton cotransport is discussed.