Isolation and nucleotide sequencing of lactose carrier mutants that transport maltose

R. J. Brooker, T. H. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The wild-type lactose carrier of Escherichia coli has a poor ability to transport the disaccharide maltose. However, it is possible to select lactose carrier mutants that have an enhanced ability to transport maltose by growing E. coli cells on maltose minimal plates in the presence of isopropyl thiogalactoside (an inducer of the lac operon). We have utilized this approach to isolate 18 independent lactose permease mutants that transport maltose. The relevant DNA sequences have been determined, and all of the mutations were found to be single base pair changes either at triplet 177 or at triplet 236. The nucleotide changes replace alanine-177 with valine or threonine, or tyrosine-236 with phenylalanine, asparagine, serine, or histidine. Transport experiments indicate that all of the mutants have faster maltose transport compared with the wild-type strain. Position 177 mutants retain the ability to transport galactosides, such as lactose and melibiose, at rates similar to the rate of the wild-type strain. In contrast, the position 236 mutants are markedly defective in the ability to transport galactosides. With regard to secondary structure, alanine-177 and tyrosine-236 are located on adjacent hydrophobic segments of the lactose carrier that are predicted to span the membrane. Thus, the results of this study indicate that the substrate recognition site of the lactose carrier is located within the plane of the lipid bilayer. In addition, a tertiary structure model is proposed that suggests how certain transmembrane segments might be localized relative to one another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3959-3963
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1985


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