Physiological, Pharmacological and Toxicological Implications of Heterodimeric Amino Acid Transporters

  • Kanai, Yoshikatsu (Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Kyorin University School of Medicine) ;
  • Endou, Hitoshi (Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Kyorin University School of Medicine)
  • Published : 2004.06.21


The heterodimeric amino acid transporter family is a subfamily of SLC7 solute transporter family which includes 14-transmembrane cationic amino acid transporters and 12-transmembrane heterodimeric amino acid transporters. The members of heterodimeric amino acid transporter family are linked via a disulfide bond to single membrane spanning glycoproteins such as 4F2hc (4F2 heavy chain) and rBAT $(related\;to\;b^0,\;^+-amino\;acid\;transporter)$. Six members are associated with 4F2hc and one is linked to rBAT. Two additional members were identified as ones associated with unknown heavy chains. The members of heterodimeric amino acid transporter family exhibit diverse substrate selectivity and are expressed in variety of tissues. They play variety of physiological roles including epithelial transport of amino acids as well as the roles to provide cells in general with amino acids for cellular nutrition. The dysfunction or hyperfunction of the members of the heterodimeric amino acid transporter family are involved in some diseases and pathologic conditions. The genetic defects of the renal and intestinal transporters $b^{0,+}AT/BAT1\;(b^{0,+}-type\;amino\;acid\;transporter/b^{0,+}-type\;amino\;acid\;transporter\;1)$ and $y^+LAT1\;(y^+L-type\;amino\;acid\;transporter\;1)$ result in the amino aciduria with sever clinical symptoms such as cystinuria and lysin uric protein intolerance, respectively. LAT1 is proposed to be involved in the progression of malignant tumor. xCT (x-C-type transporter) functions to protect cells against oxidative stress, while its over-function may be damaging neurons leading to the exacerbation of brain damage after brain ischemia. Because of broad substrate selectivity, system L transporters such as LAT1 transport amino acid-related compounds including L-Dopa and function as a drug transporter. System L also interacts with some environmental toxins with amino acid-related structure such as cysteine-conjugated methylmercury. Therefore, these transporter would be candidates for drug targets based on new therapeutic strategies.


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