ATP Regulation of Erythrocyte Sugar Transport: a Dissertation

Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Monosaccharide Transport Proteins; Biological Transport, Active; Erythrocytes; Adenosine Triphosphate; Academic Dissertations


This thesis examines the hypothesis that human erythrocyte net sugar transport is the sum of two serial processes: sugar translocation followed by interaction of newly imported sugar with an intracellular binding complex from which sugar dissociates into the bulk cytosol. This hypothesis suggests that steady-state transport measurements in the human erythrocyte do not accurately reflect the intrinsic catalytic features of the glucose transporter and unless correctly interpreted, may lead to apparent inconsistencies in the operational behavior of the human erythrocyte sugar transport system. Our results support this proposal by demonstrating that although sugar transport measurements in human red blood cells suggest that transport is catalytically asymmetric, ligand binding measurements indicate that transport must be symmetric.

In order to examine the serial compartments hypothesis, we set out to determine the following: 1) identify the component(s) of the proposed sugar binding complex, 2) determine whether cytosolic ATP levels and transporter quaternary structure affect sugar binding to the sugar binding complex, and 3) determine whether the sugar binding site(s) are located within or outside the cell.

We present findings which support the hypothesis that the sugar binding complex is in fact the sugar transport protein, GLUT1. The number of sugar binding sites and the release of sugar from the GLUT1 complex are regulated by ATP and by GLUT1 quaternary structure. The sugar binding sites are located on a cytoplasmic domain of the GLUT1 complex. We show how these observations can account for the apparent complexity of erythrocyte sugar transport and its regulation by ATP.


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