Basigin drives intracellular accumulation of l-lactate by harvesting protons and substrate anions
Transmembrane transport of l-lactate by members of the monocarboxylate transporter family, MCT, is vital in human physiology and a malignancy factor in cancer. Interaction with an accessory protein, typically basigin, is required to deliver the MCT to the plasma membrane. It is unknown whether basigin additionally exerts direct effects on the transmembrane l-lactate transport of MCT1. Here, we show that the presence of basigin leads to an intracellular accumulation of l-lactate 4.5-fold above the substrate/proton concentrations provided by the external buffer. Using basigin truncations we localized the effect to arise from the extracellular Ig-I domain. Identification of surface patches of condensed opposite electrostatic potential, and experimental analysis of charge-affecting Ig-I mutants indicated a bivalent harvesting antenna functionality for both, protons and substrate anions. From these data, and determinations of the cytosolic pH with a fluorescent probe, we conclude that the basigin Ig-I domain drives lactate uptake by locally increasing the proton and substrate concentration at the extracellular MCT entry site. The biophysical properties are physiologically relevant as cell growth on lactate media was strongly promoted in the presence of the Ig-I domain. Lack of the domain due to shedding, or misfolding due to breakage of a stabilizing disulfide bridge reversed the effect. Tumor progression according to classical or reverse Warburg effects depends on the transmembrane l-lactate distribution, and this study shows that the basigin Ig-I domain is a pivotal determinant.