Importance of Glutamine in Synaptic Vesicles Revealed by Functional Studies of SLC6A17 and Its Mutations Pathogenic for Intellectual Disability


Human mutations in the gene encoding the solute carrier (SLC) 6A17 caused intellectual disability (ID). The physiological role of SLC6A17 and pathogenesis of Slc6a17-based-ID were both unclear. Here we report learning deficits in SLC6A17 knockout and point mutants. Biochemistry, proteomics and electron microscopy (EM) support SLC6A17 protein localization in synaptic vesicles (SVs). Chemical analysis of SVs by liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS) revealed glutamine (Gln) in SVs containing SLC6A17. Virally mediated overexpression of SLC6A17 increased Gln in SVs. Either genetic or virally mediated targeting of SLC6A17 reduced Gln in SVs. One ID mutation caused SLC6A17 mislocalization while the other caused defective Gln transport. Multidisciplinary approaches with 7 types of genetically modified mice have shown Gln as an endogenous substrate of SLC 6A17, uncovered Gln as a new molecule in SVs, established the necessary and sufficient roles of SLC6A17 in Gln transport into SVs, and suggested SV Gln decrease as the key pathogenetic mechanism in human ID.

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