Publications by authors named "Francois Verrey"

98 Publications

The thyroid hormone transporter MCT10 is a novel regulator of trabecular bone mass and bone turnover in male mice.

Endocrinology 2021 Oct 20. Epub 2021 Oct 20.

Department of Medicine III and Center for Healthy Aging, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.

Thyroid hormones (TH) are essential for skeletal development and adult bone homeostasis. Their bioavailability is determined by specific transporter proteins at the cell surface. The TH-specific transporter MCT8 was recently reported as a regulator of bone mass in mice. Given that high systemic triiodothyronine (T3) levels in Mct8 KO mice are still able to cause trabecular bone loss, alternative TH transporters must substitute for MCT8 function in bone. In this study, we analyzed the skeletal phenotypes of male Oatp1c1 knockout (KO) and Mct10 KO mice, which are euthyroid, and male Mct8/Oatp1c1 and Mct8/Mct10 double KO mice, which have elevated circulating T3 levels, to unravel the role of TH transport in bone.Micro-CT analysis showed no significant trabecular bone changes in Oatp1c1 KO mice at 4 weeks and 16 weeks of age compared to wildtype littermate controls, whereas 16-week-old Mct8/Oatp1c1 double KO animals displayed trabecular bone loss. At 12 weeks, Mct10 KO mice, but not Mct8/Mct10 double KO mice, had decreased trabecular femoral bone volume with reduced osteoblast numbers. By contrast, lack of Mct10 in 24-week-old mice led to trabecular bone gain at the femur with increased osteoblast numbers and decreased osteoclast numbers whereas Mct8/Mct10 double KO did not alter bone mass. Neither Mct10 nor Mct8/Mct10 deletion affected vertebral bone structures at both ages. In vitro, osteoblast differentiation and activity were impaired by Mct10 and Mct8/Mct10-deficiency. These data demonstrate that MCT10, but not OATP1C1, is a site- and age-dependent regulator of bone mass and turnover in male mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqab218DOI Listing
October 2021

Analysis of L-leucine amino acid transporter species activity and gene expression by human blood brain barrier hCMEC/D3 model reveal potential LAT1, LAT4, BAT2 and yLAT1 functional cooperation.

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2021 Aug 24:271678X211039593. Epub 2021 Aug 24.

The Interface Group, Institute of Physiology, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.

In the CNS, amino acid (AA) neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter precursors are subject to tight homeostatic control mediated by blood-brain barrier (BBB) solute carrier amino acid transporters (AATs). Since the BBB is composed of multiple closely apposed cell types and opportunities for human studies are limited, we used and computational approaches to investigate human BBB AAT activity and regulation. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) of the human BBB endothelial cell model hCMEC/D3 (D3) was used to determine expression of selected AAT, tight junction (TJ), and signal transduction (ST) genes under various culture conditions. L-leucine uptake data were interrogated with a computational model developed by our group for calculating AAT activity in complex cell cultures. This approach is potentially applicable to cell culture drug studies where multiple "receptors" may mediate observed responses. Of 7 Leu AAT genes expressed by D3 only the activity of SLC7A5-SLC3A2/LAT1-4F2HC (LAT1), SLC43A2/LAT4 (LAT4) and sodium-dependent AATs, SLC6A15/BAT2 (BAT2), and SLC7A7/yLAT1 (yLAT1) were calculated to be required for Leu uptake. Therefore, D3 Leu transport may be mediated by a potentially physiologically relevant functional cooperation between the known BBB AAT, LAT1 and obligatory exchange (yLAT1), facilitative diffusion (LAT4), and sodium symporter (BAT2) transporters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0271678X211039593DOI Listing
August 2021

The Amino Acid Transporter Mct10/Tat1 Is Important to Maintain the TSH Receptor at Its Canonical Basolateral Localization and Assures Regular Turnover of Thyroid Follicle Cells in Male Mice.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 May 28;22(11). Epub 2021 May 28.

Department of Life Sciences and Chemistry, Focus Area HEALTH, Jacobs University Bremen, Campus Ring 1, D-28759 Bremen, Germany.

Cathepsin K-mediated thyroglobulin proteolysis contributes to thyroid hormone (TH) liberation, while TH transporters like Mct8 and Mct10 ensure TH release from thyroid follicles into the blood circulation. Thus, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) released upon TH demand binds to TSH receptors of thyrocytes, where it triggers Gα-mediated short-term effects like cathepsin-mediated thyroglobulin utilization, and Gα-mediated long-term signaling responses like thyroglobulin biosynthesis and thyrocyte proliferation. As reported recently, mice lacking Mct8 and Mct10 on a cathepsin K-deficient background exhibit excessive thyroglobulin proteolysis hinting towards altered TSH receptor signaling. Indeed, a combination of canonical basolateral and non-canonical vesicular TSH receptor localization was observed in // mice, which implies prolonged Gα-mediated signaling since endo-lysosomal down-regulation of the TSH receptor was not detected. Inspection of single knockout genotypes revealed that the TSH receptor localizes basolaterally in and mice, whereas its localization is restricted to vesicles in thyrocytes. The additional lack of cathepsin K reverses this effect, because / mice display TSH receptors basolaterally, thereby indicating that cathepsin K and Mct10 contribute to TSH receptor homeostasis by maintaining its canonical localization in thyrocytes. Moreover, mice displayed reduced numbers of dead thyrocytes, while their thyroid gland morphology was comparable to wild-type controls. In contrast, , /, and // mice showed enlarged thyroid follicles and increased cell death, indicating that Mct8 deficiency results in altered thyroid morphology. We conclude that vesicular TSH receptor localization does not result in different thyroid tissue architecture; however, Mct10 deficiency possibly modulates TSH receptor signaling for regulating thyrocyte survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115776DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8198332PMC
May 2021

The Thyroid Hormone Transporter Mct8 Restricts Cathepsin-Mediated Thyroglobulin Processing in Male Mice through Thyroid Auto-Regulatory Mechanisms That Encompass Autophagy.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Jan 5;22(1). Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Department of Life Sciences and Chemistry, Focus Area HEALTH, Jacobs University Bremen, Campus Ring 1, D-29759 Bremen, Germany.

The thyroid gland is both a thyroid hormone (TH) generating as well as a TH responsive organ. It is hence crucial that cathepsin-mediated proteolytic cleavage of the precursor thyroglobulin is regulated and integrated with the subsequent export of TH into the blood circulation, which is enabled by TH transporters such as monocarboxylate transporters Mct8 and Mct10. Previously, we showed that cathepsin K-deficient mice exhibit the phenomenon of functional compensation through cathepsin L upregulation, which is independent of the canonical hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis, thus, due to auto-regulation. Since these animals also feature enhanced Mct8 expression, we aimed to understand if TH transporters are part of the thyroid auto-regulatory mechanisms. Therefore, we analyzed phenotypic differences in thyroid function arising from combined cathepsin K and TH transporter deficiencies, i.e., in /, /, and //. Despite the impaired TH export, thyroglobulin degradation was enhanced in the mice lacking Mct8, particularly in the triple-deficient genotype, due to increased cathepsin amounts and enhanced cysteine peptidase activities, leading to ongoing thyroglobulin proteolysis for TH liberation, eventually causing self-thyrotoxic thyroid states. The increased cathepsin amounts were a consequence of autophagy-mediated lysosomal biogenesis that is possibly triggered due to the stress accompanying intrathyroidal TH accumulation, in particular in the // animals. Collectively, our data points to the notion that the absence of cathepsin K and Mct8 leads to excessive thyroglobulin degradation and TH liberation in a non-classical pathway of thyroid auto-regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010462DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7796480PMC
January 2021

Differential expression of system L amino acid transporter subtypes in rat placenta and yolk sac.

Placenta 2021 01 29;103:188-198. Epub 2020 Oct 29.

Division of Evolution and Genomic Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester, M13 9PT, UK. Electronic address:

Introduction: Amino acid transport across the placenta is crucial for fetal growth. In rodent models, the visceral yolk sac (referred to as yolk sac hereafter) is also likely to contribute to fetal amino acid provision. System L amino acid transporters mediate the transport of essential amino acids. System L activity is mediated by light chains LAT1 (Slc7a5) and LAT2 (Slc7a8) which form functional complexes by heterodimeric linkage to CD98 (Slc3a2). LAT4 (Slc43a2) is monomeric, possessing overlapping amino acid substrate specificity with LAT1 and LAT2.

Methods: This study investigates the expression of these LAT subtypes in fetus-matched rat placenta and yolk sac.

Results: Slc7a5, Slc7a8 and Slc43a2 transcripts were expressed in placenta and yolk sac with similar expression patterns between sexes. LAT1 expression was significantly higher in placenta than yolk sac. Conversely, LAT2 and LAT4 expression was significantly higher in yolk sac than placenta; CD98 expression was comparable. LAT1, LAT2, LAT4 and CD98 were distributed to rat placental labyrinth zone (LZ) and junctional zone (JZ). LAT1 and LAT4 demonstrated higher expression in LZ, whilst LAT2 was more intensely distributed to JZ. LAT1, LAT2, LAT4 and CD98 were expressed in yolk sac, with punctate LAT1 staining to endodermal cell cytoplasm, contrasting with the intense LAT2, LAT4 and CD98 endodermal cell basolateral distribution, accounting for greater LAT2 and LAT4 expression in yolk sac compared to placenta.

Conclusion: LAT1, LAT2 and LAT4 are expressed in rat placenta and yolk sac implicating a combined role for these LAT subtypes in supporting fetal growth and development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.placenta.2020.10.034DOI Listing
January 2021

ACE2 and gut amino acid transport.

Clin Sci (Lond) 2020 11;134(21):2823-2833

Institute of Physiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

ACE2 is a type I membrane protein with extracellular carboxypeptidase activity displaying a broad tissue distribution with highest expression levels at the brush border membrane (BBM) of small intestine enterocytes and a lower expression in stomach and colon. In small intestinal mucosa, ACE2 mRNA expression appears to increase with age and to display higher levels in patients taking ACE-inhibitors (ACE-I). There, ACE2 protein heterodimerizes with the neutral amino acid transporter Broad neutral Amino acid Transporter 1 (B0AT1) (SLC6A19) or the imino acid transporter Sodium-dependent Imino Transporter 1 (SIT1) (SLC6A20), associations that are required for the surface expression of these transport proteins. These heterodimers can form quaternary structures able to function as binding sites for SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoproteins. The heterodimerization of the carboxypeptidase ACE2 with B0AT1 is suggested to favor the direct supply of substrate amino acids to the transporter, but whether this association impacts the ability of ACE2 to mediate viral infection is not known. B0AT1 mutations cause Hartnup disorder, a condition characterized by neutral aminoaciduria and, in some cases, pellagra-like symptoms, such as photosensitive rash, diarrhea, and cerebellar ataxia. Correspondingly, the lack of ACE2 and the concurrent absence of B0AT1 expression in small intestine causes a decrease in l-tryptophan absorption, niacin deficiency, decreased intestinal antimicrobial peptide production, and increased susceptibility to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in mice. Thus, the abundant expression of ACE2 in small intestine and its association with amino acid transporters appears to play a crucial role for the digestion of peptides and the absorption of amino acids and, thereby, for the maintenance of structural and functional gut integrity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/CS20200477DOI Listing
November 2020

Tissue-specific deletion of mouse basolateral uniporter LAT4 (Slc43a2) reveals its crucial role in small intestine and kidney amino acid transport.

J Physiol 2020 11 16;598(22):5109-5132. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Institute of Physiology University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Key Points: LAT4 is a broadly expressed uniporter selective for essential branched chain amino acids, methionine and phenylalanine, which are involved in epithelial transport. Its global deletion leads to an early malnutrition-like phenotype and death within 10 days after birth. Here, we tested the impact of deleting LAT4 selectively in the mouse intestine. This affected slightly the absorption of amino acids (AAs) and delayed gastrointestinal motility; however, it had no major phenotypic effect, even when combined with aromatic AA uniporter TAT1 knockout (KO). Conversely, kidney tubule-selective deletion of LAT4 led to a substantial aminoaciduria that strongly increased under a high protein diet. Combining a partial tubular LAT4 deletion with TAT1 KO implicated their synergistic action on AA reabsorption. These results show that LAT4 plays an important role for kidney AA reabsorption, but that its functional role in intestinal AA absorption is largely dispensable.

Abstract: Amino acid (AA) transporter LAT4 (Slc43a2) functions as facilitated diffusion uniporter for essential neutral AAs and is highly expressed at the basolateral membrane of small intestine (SI) and kidney tubule epithelia. Previously, we showed that LAT4 global knockout (KO) mice were born at the expected Mendelian ratio but died within 10 days. Their failure to gain weight and a severe malnutrition-like phenotype contrasted with apparently normal feeding, suggesting a severe intestinal AA absorption defect. In the present study, using conditional global and tissue-specific LAT4 KO mouse models, we nullified this hypothesis, demonstrating that the selective lack of intestinal LAT4 does not impair postnatal development, although it leads to an absorption defect accompanied by delayed gastrointestinal motility. Kidney tubule-specific LAT4 KO led to a substantial aminoaciduria as a result of a reabsorption defect of AAs transported by LAT4 and of other AAs that are substrates of the antiporter LAT2, demonstrating, in vivo, the functional co-operation of these two transporters. The major role played by basolateral uniporters in the kidney was further supported by the observation that, in mice lacking TAT1, another neutral AA uniporter, a partial LAT4 KO led to a synergistic increase of urinary AA loss. Surprisingly in the SI, the same combined KO induced no major effect, suggesting yet unknown compensatory mechanisms. Taken together, the lethal malnutrition-like phenotype observed previously in LAT4 global KO pups is suggested to be the consequence of a combinatorial effect of LAT4 deletion in the SI, kidney and presumably other tissues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/JP280234DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7693055PMC
November 2020

SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 gene expression in small intestine correlates with age.

Amino Acids 2020 Jul 5;52(6-7):1063-1065. Epub 2020 Jul 5.

Department of Visceral and Thoracic Surgery, Cantonal Hospital of Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland.

Gastrointestinal symptoms are common in COVID-19 patients, especially in younger patients. Our hypothesis was that intestinal SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 expression depends on patients' age. We examined duodenal biopsies from 43 healthy human adults. ACE2 gene expression was directly correlated with age (Spearman's r = 0.317, p = 0.039). With each year, duodenal ACE2 expression increased by 0.083 RU. The higher intestinal ACE2 mRNA expression in older patients may impact on their susceptibility to develop intestinal symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00726-020-02870-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7335412PMC
July 2020

Phosphorylation of mouse intestinal basolateral amino acid uniporter LAT4 is controlled by food-entrained diurnal rhythm and dietary proteins.

PLoS One 2020 29;15(5):e0233863. Epub 2020 May 29.

Institute of Physiology and Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP), University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Adaptive regulation of epithelial transporters to nutrient intake is essential to decrease energy costs of their synthesis and maintenance, however such regulation is understudied. Previously we demonstrated that the transport function of the basolateral amino acid uniporter LAT4 (Slc43a2) is increased by dephosphorylation of serine 274 (S274) and nearly abolished by dephosphorylation of serine 297 (S297) when expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Phosphorylation changes in the jejunum of food-entrained mice suggested an increase in LAT4 transport function during food expectation. Thus, we investigated further how phosphorylation, expression and localization of mouse intestinal LAT4 respond to food-entrained diurnal rhythm and dietary protein content. In mice entrained with 18% protein diet, LAT4 mRNA was not submitted to diurnal regulation, unlike mRNAs of luminal symporters and antiporters. Only in duodenum, LAT4 protein expression increased during food intake. Concurrently, S274 phosphorylation was decreased in all three small intestinal segments, whereas S297 phosphorylation was increased only in jejunum. Interestingly, during food intake, S274 phosphorylation was nearly absent in ileum and accompanied by strong phosphorylation of mTORC1 target S6. Entraining mice with 8% protein diet provoked a shift in jejunal LAT4 localization from the cell surface to intracellular stores and increased S274 phosphorylation in both jejunum and ileum during food anticipation, suggesting decreased transport function. In contrast, 40% dietary protein content led to increased LAT4 expression in jejunum and its internalization in ileum. Ex vivo treatments of isolated intestinal villi fraction demonstrated that S274 phosphorylation was stimulated by protein kinase A. Rapamycin-sensitive insulin treatment and amino acids increased S297 phosphorylation, suggesting that the response to food intake might be regulated via the insulin-mTORC1 pathway. Ghrelin, an oscillating orexigenic hormone, did not affect phosphorylation of intestinal LAT4. Overall, we show that phosphorylation, expression and localization of intestinal mouse LAT4 responds to diurnal and dietary stimuli in location-specific manner.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0233863PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7259769PMC
August 2020

Choroid plexus LAT2 and SNAT3 as partners in CSF amino acid homeostasis maintenance.

Fluids Barriers CNS 2020 Feb 11;17(1):17. Epub 2020 Feb 11.

Institute of Physiology, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057, Zurich, Switzerland.

Background: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is mainly produced by the choroid plexus (CP) located in brain ventricles. Although derived from blood plasma, it is nearly protein-free (~ 250-fold less) and contains about 2-20-fold less free amino acids, with the exception of glutamine (Gln) which is nearly equal. The aim of this study was to determine which amino acid transporters are expressed in mouse CP epithelium in order to gain understanding about how this barrier maintains the observed amino acid concentration gradient.

Methods: Expression of amino acid transporters was assessed in isolated choroid plexuses (CPs) by qRT-PCR followed by localization studies using immunofluorescence with specific antibodies. The impact of LAT2 (Slc7a8) antiporter deletion on CSF amino acids was determined.

Results: The purity of isolated choroid plexuses was tested on the mRNA level using specific markers, in particular transthyretin (Ttr) that was enriched 330-fold in CP compared to cerebral tissue. In a first experimental round, 14 out of 32 Slc amino acid transporters tested on the mRNA level by qPCR were selected for further investigation. Out of these, five were considered highly expressed, SNAT1 (Slc38a1), SNAT3 (Slc38a3), LAT2 (Slc7a8), ASC1 (Slc7a10) and SIT1 (Slc6a20b). Three of them were visualized by immunofluorescence: SNAT1 (Slc38a1), a neutral amino acid-Na symporter, found at the blood side basolateral membrane of CP epithelium, while SNAT3 (Slc38a3), an amino acid-Na symporter and H antiporter, as well as LAT2 (Slc7a8), a neutral amino acid antiporter, were localized at the CSF-facing luminal membrane. In a LAT2 knock-out mouse model, CSF Gln was unchanged, whereas other amino acids normally 2-20-fold lower than in plasma, were increased, in particular the LAT2 uptake substrates leucine (Leu), valine (Val) and tryptophan (Trp) and some other amino acids such as glutamate (Glu), glycine (Gly) and proline (Pro).

Conclusion: These results suggest that Gln is actively transported by SNAT1 from the blood into CP epithelial cells and then released luminally into CSF via SNAT3 and LAT2. Its efflux via LAT2 may drive the reuptake from the CSF of essential amino acid substrates of this antiporter and thereby participates to maintaining the amino acid gradient between plasma and CSF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12987-020-0178-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7014681PMC
February 2020

Differential Impact of Dietary Branched Chain and Aromatic Amino Acids on Chronic Kidney Disease Progression in Rats.

Front Physiol 2019 9;10:1460. Epub 2019 Dec 9.

Institute of Physiology and The Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Kidney Control of Homeostasis (Kidney.CH), University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

The metabolism of dietary proteins generates waste products that are excreted by the kidney, in particular nitrogen-containing urea, uric acid, ammonia, creatinine, and other metabolites such as phosphates, sulfates, and protons. Kidney adaptation includes an increase in renal plasma flow (RPF) and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and represents a burden for diseased kidneys increasing the progression rate of CKD. The present study aimed at identifying potential differences between amino acid (AA) groups constituting dietary proteins regarding their impact on RPF, GFR, and CKD progression. We utilized the well-established 5/6 nephrectomy (5/6 Nx) CKD model in rats and submitted the animals for 5 weeks to either the control diet (18% casein protein) or to diets containing 8% casein supplemented with 10% of a mix of free amino acids, representing all or only a subset of the amino acids contained in casein. Whereas the RPF and GFR measured in free moving animals remained stable during the course of the diet in rats receiving the control mix, these parameters decreased in animals receiving the branched chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation and increased in the ones receiving the aromatic amino acids (AAAs). In animals receiving essential amino acids (EAAs) containing both BCAAs and AAAs, there was only a small increase in RPF. The kidneys of the 5/6 Nx rats receiving the BCAA diet showed the strongest increase in smooth muscle actin and collagen mRNA expression as a result of higher level of inflammation and fibrosis. These animals receiving BCAAs also showed an increase in plasma free fatty acids pointing to a problem at the level of energy metabolism. In contrast, the animals under AAA diet showed an activation of AMPK and STAT3. Taken together, our results demonstrate that subsets of EAAs contained in dietary proteins, specifically BCAAs and AAAs, exert contrasting effects on kidney functional parameters and CKD progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.01460DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6913537PMC
December 2019

Mucosal Monosaccharide Transporter Expression in Newborns With Jejunoileal Atresia and Along the Adult Intestine.

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2019 11;69(5):611-618

Institute of Physiology and Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology, University of Zurich (UZH), Zurich.

Objectives: In newborn rodents, intestinal maturation involves delayed fructose transporter GLUT5 expression until weaning. In jejunoileal atresia (JIA), distal intestinal segments lack exposure to amniotic fluid-containing carbohydrates. We assessed in human newborns, the impact of intestinal maturation and obstruction on mucosal monosaccharide transporter expression.

Methods: Samples were obtained from 10 newborns operated for small intestinal atresia and from 17 adults undergoing gastroduodenoscopy and/or ileocolonoscopy. mRNA expression of the transporters SGLT1, GLUT1, GLUT2, GLUT5, and GLUT7 was measured in neonate samples proximal and distal of the atresia as well as in adult duodenum, ileum, and colon. Protein expression and localization was assessed using immunofluorescence.

Results: Although mRNA expression of monosaccharide transporters did not significantly differ between newborn and adult samples, luminal fructose transporter GLUT5 protein was absent in 0- to 4-day-old neonates, but expressed in adults. The mRNA expression of the 5 tested monosaccharide transporters was unchanged distal from the JIA relative to proximal. Similarly, luminal sodium-dependent glucose transporter SGLT1 and basolateral GLUT2 were expressed proximal and distal to JIA as visualized by immunofluorescence staining. With the exception of glucose transporter GLUT1 that showed highest expression levels in colon, all investigated hexose transporters showed strongest expression in duodenum, lower levels in ileum and lowest in colon.

Conclusions: Human newborns lack small intestinal fructose transporter GLUT5 protein expression and small intestinal atresia does not affect the expression of hexose transporters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MPG.0000000000002425DOI Listing
November 2019

Dysfunctional LAT2 Amino Acid Transporter Is Associated With Cataract in Mouse and Humans.

Front Physiol 2019 4;10:688. Epub 2019 Jun 4.

Institute of Medical Molecular Genetics, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Cataract, the loss of ocular lens transparency, accounts for ∼50% of worldwide blindness and has been associated with water and solute transport dysfunction across lens cellular barriers. We show that neutral amino acid antiporter LAT2 ) and uniporter TAT1 () are expressed on mouse ciliary epithelium and LAT2 also in lens epithelium. Correspondingly, deletion of LAT2 induced a dramatic decrease in lens essential amino acid levels that was modulated by TAT1 defect. Interestingly, the absence of LAT2 led to increased incidence of cataract in mice, in particular in older females, and a synergistic effect was observed with simultaneous lack of TAT1. Screening in patients diagnosed with congenital or age-related cataract yielded one homozygous single nucleotide deletion segregating in a family with congenital cataract. Expressed in HeLa cells, this LAT2 mutation did not support amino acid uptake. Heterozygous LAT2 variants were also found in patients with cataract some of which showed a reduced transport function when expressed in HeLa cells. Whether heterozygous LAT2 variants may contribute to the pathology of cataract needs to be further investigated. Overall, our results suggest that defects of amino acid transporter LAT2 are implicated in cataract formation, a situation that may be aggravated by TAT1 defects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.00688DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6558864PMC
June 2019

Propagation of Plasma L-Phenylalanine Concentration Fluctuations to the Neurovascular Unit in Phenylketonuria: An Study.

Front Physiol 2019 2;10:360. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

The Interface Group, Institute of Physiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an inherited metabolic disease characterized by abnormally high concentrations of the essential amino acid L-phenylalanine (Phe) in blood plasma caused by reduced activity of phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH). While numerous studies have shown association between high plasma Phe concentration and intellectual impairment, it is not clear whether increased Phe fluctuations also observed in PKU affect the brain as well. To investigate this, time-resolved data on Phe and competing large neutral amino acid (LNAA) concentrations in neurons are needed, but cannot be acquired readily with current methods. We have used modeling as an alternative approach to characterize the interactive dynamics of Phe and competing LNAAs (CL) in the neurovascular unit (NVU). Our results suggest that plasma Phe fluctuations can propagate into the NVU cells and change there the concentration of LNAAs, with the highest magnitude of this effect observed at low frequency and high amplitude-to-mean ratio of the plasma Phe concentration fluctuations. Our model further elucidates the effect of therapeutic LNAA supplementation in PKU, showing how abnormal concentrations of Phe and CL in the NVU move thereby toward normal physiologic levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.00360DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6454150PMC
April 2019

Anticipation of food intake induces phosphorylation switch to regulate basolateral amino acid transporter LAT4 (SLC43A2) function.

J Physiol 2019 01 28;597(2):521-542. Epub 2018 Nov 28.

Institute of Physiology and Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP), University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Key Points: Amino acid absorption requires luminal uptake into and subsequent basolateral efflux out of epithelial cells, with the latter step being critical to regulate the intracellular concentration of the amino acids. The basolateral essential neutral amino acid uniporter LAT4 (SLC43A2) has been suggested to drive the net efflux of non-essential and cationic amino acids via parallel amino acid antiporters by recycling some of their substrates; its deletion has been shown to cause defective postnatal growth and death in mice. Here we test the regulatory function of LAT4 phosphorylation sites by mimicking their phosphorylated and dephosphorylated states in Xenopus laevis oocytes and show that dephosphorylation of S274 and phosphorylation of S297 increase LAT4 membrane localization and function. Using new phosphorylation site-specific antibodies, we observe changes in LAT4 phosphorylation in mouse small intestine that correspond to its upregulation at the expected feeding time. These results strongly suggest that LAT4 phosphorylation participates in the regulation of transepithelial amino acid absorption.

Abstract: The essential amino acid uniporters LAT4 and TAT1 are located at the basolateral side of intestinal and kidney epithelial cells and their transport function has been suggested to control the transepithelial (re)absorption of neutral and possibly also cationic amino acids. Uniporter LAT4 selectively transports the branched chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine, and additionally methionine and phenylalanine. Its deletion leads to a postnatal growth failure and early death in mice. Since LAT4 has been reported to be phosphorylated in vivo, we hypothesized that phosphorylation regulates its function. Using Xenopus laevis oocytes, we tested the impact of LAT4 phosphorylation at Ser274 and Ser297 by expressing mutant constructs mimicking phosphorylated and dephosphorylated states. We then investigated the in vivo regulation of LAT4 in mouse small intestine using new phosphorylation site-specific antibodies and a time-restricted diet. In Xenopus oocytes, mimicking non-phosphorylation of Ser274 led to an increase in affinity and apparent surface membrane localization of LAT4, stimulating its transport activity, while the same mutation of Ser297 decreased LAT4's apparent surface expression and transport rate. In wild-type mice, LAT4 phosphorylation on Ser274 was uniform at the beginning of the inactive phase (ZT0). In contrast, at the beginning of the active phase (ZT12), corresponding to the anticipated feeding time, Ser274 phosphorylation was decreased and restricted to relatively large patches of cells, while Ser297 phosphorylation was increased. We conclude that phosphorylation of small intestinal LAT4 is under food-entrained circadian control, leading presumably to an upregulation of LAT4 function at the anticipated feeding time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/JP276714DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6332772PMC
January 2019

Arginase-II negatively regulates renal aquaporin-2 and water reabsorption.

FASEB J 2018 10 2;32(10):5520-5531. Epub 2018 May 2.

Division of Physiology, Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular and Aging Research, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland.

Type-II l-arginine:ureahydrolase, arginase-II (Arg-II), is abundantly expressed in the kidney. The physiologic role played by Arg-II in the kidney remains unknown. Herein, we report that in mice that are deficient in Arg-II (Arg-II), total and membrane-associated aquaporin-2 (AQP2) protein levels were significantly higher compared with wild-type (WT) controls. Water deprivation enhanced Arg-II expression, AQP2 levels, and membrane association in collecting ducts. Effects of water deprivation on AQP2 were stronger in Arg-II mice than in WT mice. Accordingly, a decrease in urine volume and an increase in urine osmolality under water deprivation were more pronounced in Arg-II mice than in WT mice, which correlated with a weaker increase in plasma osmolality in Arg-II mice. There was no difference in vasopressin release under water deprivation conditions between either genotype of mice. Although total AQP2 and phosphorylated AQP2-S256 levels (mediated by PKA) in kidneys under water deprivation conditions were significantly higher in Arg-II mice compared with WT animals, there is no difference in the ratio of AQP2-S256:AQP2. In cultured mouse collecting duct principal mCCD cells, expression of both Arg-II and AQP2 were enhanced by the vasopressin type 2 receptor agonist, desamino- d-arginine vasopressin (dDAVP). Silencing Arg-II enhanced the expression and membrane association of AQP2 by dDAVP without influencing cAMP levels. In conclusion, in vivo and in vitro experiments demonstrate that Arg-II negatively regulates AQP2 and the urine-concentrating capability in kidneys via a mechanism that is not associated with the modulation of the cAMP pathway.-Huang, J., Montani, J.-P., Verrey, F., Feraille, E., Ming, X.-F., Yang, Z. Arginase-II negatively regulates renal aquaporin-2 and water reabsorption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.201701209RDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6405175PMC
October 2018

NRF2 regulates the glutamine transporter Slc38a3 (SNAT3) in kidney in response to metabolic acidosis.

Sci Rep 2018 04 4;8(1):5629. Epub 2018 Apr 4.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Division of Molecular and Systems Toxicology, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50, 4056, Basel, Switzerland.

Expression of the glutamine transporter SNAT3 increases in kidney during metabolic acidosis, suggesting a role during ammoniagenesis. Microarray analysis of Nrf2 knock-out (KO) mouse kidney identified Snat3 as the most significantly down-regulated transcript compared to wild-type (WT). We hypothesized that in the absence of NRF2 the kidney would be unable to induce SNAT3 under conditions of metabolic acidosis and therefore reduce the availability of glutamine for ammoniagenesis. Metabolic acidosis was induced for 7 days in WT and Nrf2 KO mice. Nrf2 KO mice failed to induce Snat3 mRNA and protein expression during metabolic acidosis. However, there were no differences in blood pH, bicarbonate, pCO, chloride and calcium or urinary pH, ammonium and phosphate levels. Normal induction of ammoniagenic enzymes was observed whereas several amino acid transporters showed differential regulation. Moreover, Nrf2 KO mice during acidosis showed increased expression of renal markers of oxidative stress and injury and NRF2 activity was increased during metabolic acidosis in WT kidney. We conclude that NRF2 is required to adapt the levels of SNAT3 in response to metabolic acidosis. In the absence of NRF2 and SNAT3, the kidney does not have any major acid handling defect; however, increased oxidative stress and renal injury may occur.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-24000-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5884861PMC
April 2018

Cooperation of Antiporter LAT2/CD98hc with Uniporter TAT1 for Renal Reabsorption of Neutral Amino Acids.

J Am Soc Nephrol 2018 06 2;29(6):1624-1635. Epub 2018 Apr 2.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Biology Faculty, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain;

Reabsorption of amino acids (AAs) across the renal proximal tubule is crucial for intracellular and whole organism AA homeostasis. Although the luminal transport step is well understood, with several diseases caused by dysregulation of this process, the basolateral transport step is not understood. In humans, only cationic aminoaciduria due to malfunction of the basolateral transporter yLAT1/CD98hc (SLC7A7/SLC3A2), which mediates the export of cationic AAs, has been described. Thus, the physiologic roles of basolateral transporters of neutral AAs, such as the antiporter LAT2/CD98hc (SLC7A8/SLC3A2), a heterodimer that exports most neutral AAs, and the uniporter TAT1 (SLC16A10), which exports only aromatic AAs, remain unclear. Functional cooperation between TAT1 and LAT2/CD98hc has been suggested by studies but has not been evaluated To study the functional relationship of TAT1 and LAT2/CD98hc , we generated a double-knockout mouse model lacking TAT1 and LAT2, the catalytic subunit of LAT2/CD98hc (dKO LAT2-TAT1 mice). Compared with mice lacking only TAT1 or LAT2, dKO LAT2-TAT1 mice lost larger amounts of aromatic and other neutral AAs in their urine due to a tubular reabsorption defect. Notably, dKO mice also displayed decreased tubular reabsorption of cationic AAs and increased expression of yLAT1/CD98hc. The LAT2/CD98hc and TAT1 transporters functionally cooperate , and yLAT1/CD98hc may compensate for the loss of LAT2/CD98hc and TAT1, functioning as a neutral AA exporter at the expense of some urinary loss of cationic AAs. Cooperative and compensatory mechanisms of AA transporters may explain the lack of basolateral neutral aminoacidurias in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2017111205DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6054336PMC
June 2018

Functional Polarity of Microvascular Brain Endothelial Cells Supported by Neurovascular Unit Computational Model of Large Neutral Amino Acid Homeostasis.

Front Physiol 2018 13;9:171. Epub 2018 Mar 13.

The Interface Group, Institute of Physiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

The homeostatic regulation of large neutral amino acid (LNAA) concentration in the brain interstitial fluid (ISF) is essential for proper brain function. LNAA passage into the brain is primarily mediated by the complex and dynamic interactions between various solute carrier (SLC) transporters expressed in the neurovascular unit (NVU), among which SLC7A5/LAT1 is considered to be the major contributor in microvascular brain endothelial cells (MBEC). The LAT1-mediated trans-endothelial transport of LNAAs, however, could not be characterized precisely by available and standard methods so far. To circumvent these limitations, we have incorporated published data of rat brain into a robust computational model of NVU-LNAA homeostasis, allowing us to evaluate hypotheses concerning LAT1-mediated trans-endothelial transport of LNAAs across the blood brain barrier (BBB). We show that accounting for functional polarity of MBECs with either asymmetric LAT1 distribution between membranes and/or intrinsic LAT1 asymmetry with low intraendothelial binding affinity is required to reproduce the experimentally measured brain ISF response to intraperitoneal (IP) L-tyrosine and L-phenylalanine injection. On the basis of these findings, we have also investigated the effect of IP administrated L-tyrosine and L-phenylalanine on the dynamics of LNAAs in MBECs, astrocytes and neurons. Finally, the computational model was shown to explain the trans-stimulation of LNAA uptake across the BBB observed upon ISF perfusion with a competitive LAT1 inhibitor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.00171DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5859092PMC
March 2018

Deafness and loss of cochlear hair cells in the absence of thyroid hormone transporters Slc16a2 (Mct8) and Slc16a10 (Mct10).

Sci Rep 2018 03 13;8(1):4403. Epub 2018 Mar 13.

Laboratory of Endocrinology and Receptor Biology, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892, USA.

Transmembrane proteins that mediate the cellular uptake or efflux of thyroid hormone potentially provide a key level of control over neurodevelopment. In humans, defects in one such protein, solute carrier SLC16A2 (MCT8) are associated with psychomotor retardation. Other proteins that transport the active form of thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3) or its precursor thyroxine (T4) have been identified in vitro but the wider significance of such transporters in vivo is unclear. The development of the auditory system requires thyroid hormone and the cochlea is a primary target tissue. We have proposed that the compartmental anatomy of the cochlea would necessitate transport mechanisms to convey blood-borne hormone to target tissues. We report hearing loss in mice with mutations in Slc16a2 and a related gene Slc16a10 (Mct10, Tat1). Deficiency of both transporters results in retarded development of the sensory epithelium similar to impairment caused by hypothyroidism, compounded with a progressive degeneration of cochlear hair cells and loss of endocochlear potential. Administration of T3 largely restores the development of the sensory epithelium and limited auditory function, indicating the T3-sensitivity of defects in the sensory epithelium. The results indicate a necessity for thyroid hormone transporters in cochlear development and function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-22553-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5849681PMC
March 2018

Kidney Mass Reduction Leads to l-Arginine Metabolism-Dependent Blood Pressure Increase in Mice.

J Am Heart Assoc 2018 02 25;7(5). Epub 2018 Feb 25.

Institute of Physiology, Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP) and NCCR Kidney.CH, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Background: Uninephrectomy (UNX) is performed for various reasons, including kidney cancer or donation. Kidneys being the main site of l-arginine production in the body, we tested whether UNX mediated kidney mass reduction impacts l-arginine metabolism and thereby nitric oxide production and blood pressure regulation in mice.

Methods And Results: In a first series of experiments, we observed a significant increase in arterial blood pressure 8 days post-UNX in female and not in male mice. Further experimental series were performed in female mice, and the blood pressure increase was confirmed by telemetry. l-citrulline, that is used in the kidney to produce l-arginine, was elevated post-UNX as was also asymmetric dimethylarginine, an inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase that competes with l-arginine and is a marker for renal failure. Interestingly, the UNX-induced blood pressure increase was prevented by supplementation of the diet with 5% of the l-arginine precursor, l-citrulline. Because l-arginine is metabolized in the kidney and other peripheral tissues by arginase-2, we tested whether the lack of this metabolic pathway also compensates for decreased l-arginine production in the kidney and/or for local nitric oxide synthase inhibition and consecutive blood pressure increase. Indeed, upon uninephrectomy, arginase-2 knockout mice (Arg-2) neither displayed an increase in asymmetric dimethylarginine and l-citrulline plasma levels nor a significant increase in blood pressure.

Conclusions: UNX leads to a small increase in blood pressure that is prevented by l-citrulline supplementation or arginase deficiency, 2 measures that appear to compensate for the impact of kidney mass reduction on l-arginine metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.117.008025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5866334PMC
February 2018

Abnormal creatine transport of mutations in monocarboxylate transporter 12 (MCT12) found in patients with age-related cataract can be partially rescued by exogenous chaperone CD147.

Hum Mol Genet 2017 11;26(21):4203-4214

Institute of Medical Molecular Genetics, University Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Membrane transporters influence biological functions in the ocular lens. Here, we investigate the monocarboxylate transporter 12 (MCT12), also called creatine transporter 2 (CRT2), which is found in the ocular lens and is involved in cataract. As the age-related form affects about half of the population world-wide, understanding relevant pathomechanisms is a prerequisite for exploring non-invasive treatments. We screened the coding exons of the gene SLC16A12 in 877 patients from five cohorts, including Caucasian and Asian ethnicities. A previously identified risk factor, SNP rs3740030, displayed different frequencies in the Asian cohorts but risk could not be established. In 15 patients 13 very rare heterozygous nucleotide substitutions were identified, of which eight led to non-synonymous and four to synonymous amino acid exchanges and one mapped to the canonical splice site in intron 3. Their impact on creatine transport was tested in Xenopus laevis oocytes and human HEK293T cells. Four variants (p.Ser158Pro, p.Gly205Val, p.Pro395Gln and p.Ser453Arg) displayed severe reduction in both model systems, indicating conserved function. Two of these, p.Gly205Val, and p.Ser453Arg, did not localize to the oocyte membrane, suggesting possible impacts on protein interactions for transporter processing. In support, exogenously supplied excess of MCT12's chaperone CD147 in HEK293T cells led to a partial recovery of the defective uptake activity from p.Gly205Val and also from mutant p.Pro395Gln, which did localize to the membrane. Our findings provide first insight in the molecular requirements of creatine transporter, with particular emphasis on rescuing effects by its chaperone CD147, which can provide useful pharmacological information for substrate delivery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddx310DOI Listing
November 2017

Expression and regulation of the neutral amino acid transporter B0AT1 in rat small intestine.

PLoS One 2017 15;12(9):e0184845. Epub 2017 Sep 15.

Institute of Physiology, Zurich Center of Integrative Human Physiology and NCCR Kidney.CH, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Absorption of neutral amino acids across the luminal membrane of intestinal enterocytes is mediated by the broad neutral amino acid transporter B0AT1 (SLC6A19). Its intestinal expression depends on co-expression of the membrane-anchored peptidase angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and is additionally enhanced by aminopeptidase N (CD13). We investigated in this study the expression of B0AT1 and its auxiliary peptidases as well as its transport function along the rat small intestine. Additionally, we tested its possible short- and long-term regulation by dietary proteins and amino acids. We showed by immunofluorescence that B0AT1, ACE2 and CD13 co-localize on the luminal membrane of small intestinal villi and by Western blotting that their protein expression increases in distal direction. Furthermore, we observed an elevated transport activity of the neutral amino acid L-isoleucine during the nocturnal active phase compared to the inactive one. Gastric emptying was delayed by intragastric application of an amino acid cocktail but we observed no acute dietary regulation of B0AT1 protein expression and L-isoleucine transport. Investigation of the chronic dietary regulation of B0AT1, ACE2 and CD13 by different diets revealed an increased B0AT1 protein expression under amino acid-supplemented diet in the proximal section but not in the distal one and for ACE2 protein expression a reverse localization of the effect. Dietary regulation for CD13 protein expression was not as distinct as for the two other proteins. Ring uptake experiments showed a tendency for increased L-isoleucine uptake under amino acid-supplemented diet and in vivo L-isoleucine absorption was more efficient under high protein and amino acid-supplemented diet. Additionally, plasma levels of branched-chain amino acids were elevated under high protein and amino acid diet. Taken together, our experiments did not reveal an acute amino acid-induced regulation of B0AT1 but revealed a chronic dietary adaptation mainly restricted to the proximal segment of the small intestine.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0184845PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5600382PMC
October 2017

Interdependence of thyroglobulin processing and thyroid hormone export in the mouse thyroid gland.

Eur J Cell Biol 2017 Aug 6;96(5):440-456. Epub 2017 Mar 6.

Jacobs University Bremen, Department of Life Sciences and Chemistry, Campus Ring 1, D-28759 Bremen, Germany. Electronic address:

Thyroid hormone (TH) target cells need to adopt mechanisms to maintain sufficient levels of TH to ensure regular functions. This includes thyroid epithelial cells, which generate TH in addition to being TH-responsive. However, the cellular and molecular pathways underlying thyroid auto-regulation are insufficiently understood. In order to investigate whether thyroglobulin processing and TH export are sensed by thyrocytes, we inactivated thyroglobulin-processing cathepsins and TH-exporting monocarboxylate transporters (Mct) in the mouse. The states of thyroglobulin storage and its protease-mediated processing and degradation were related to the levels of TH transporter molecules by immunoblotting and immunofluorescence microscopy. Thyroid epithelial cells of cathepsin-deficient mice showed increased Mct8 protein levels at the basolateral plasma membrane domains when compared to wild type controls. While the protein amounts of the thyroglobulin-degrading cathepsin D remained largely unaffected by Mct8 or Mct10 single-deficiencies, a significant increase in the amounts of the thyroglobulin-processing cathepsins B and L was detectable in particular in Mct8/Mct10 double deficiency. In addition, it was observed that larger endo-lysosomes containing cathepsins B, D, and L were typical for Mct8- and/or Mct10-deficient mouse thyroid epithelial cells. These data support the notion of a crosstalk between TH transporters and thyroglobulin-processing proteases in thyroid epithelial cells. We conclude that a defect in exporting thyroxine from thyroid follicles feeds back positively on its cathepsin-mediated proteolytic liberation from the precursor thyroglobulin, thereby adding to the development of auto-thyrotoxic states in Mct8 and/or Mct10 deficiencies. The data suggest TH sensing molecules within thyrocytes that contribute to thyroid auto-regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejcb.2017.02.002DOI Listing
August 2017

Quantifying the relative contributions of different solute carriers to aggregate substrate transport.

Sci Rep 2017 01 16;7:40628. Epub 2017 Jan 16.

Epithelial Transport Group, Institute of Physiology, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Determining the contributions of different transporter species to overall cellular transport is fundamental for understanding the physiological regulation of solutes. We calculated the relative activities of Solute Carrier (SLC) transporters using the Michaelis-Menten equation and global fitting to estimate the normalized maximum transport rate for each transporter (V). Data input were the normalized measured uptake of the essential neutral amino acid (AA) L-leucine (Leu) from concentration-dependence assays performed using Xenopus laevis oocytes. Our methodology was verified by calculating Leu and L-phenylalanine (Phe) data in the presence of competitive substrates and/or inhibitors. Among 9 potentially expressed endogenous X. laevis oocyte Leu transporter species, activities of only the uniporters SLC43A2/LAT4 (and/or SLC43A1/LAT3) and the sodium symporter SLC6A19/BAT1 were required to account for total uptake. Furthermore, Leu and Phe uptake by heterologously expressed human SLC6A14/ATB and SLC43A2/LAT4 was accurately calculated. This versatile systems biology approach is useful for analyses where the kinetics of each active protein species can be represented by the Hill equation. Furthermore, its applicable even in the absence of protein expression data. It could potentially be applied, for example, to quantify drug transporter activities in target cells to improve specificity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep40628DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5238446PMC
January 2017

Genetic Targeting of Arginase-II in Mouse Prevents Renal Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Diet-Induced Obesity.

Front Physiol 2016 22;7:560. Epub 2016 Nov 22.

Cardiovascular and Aging Research, Division of Physiology, Department of Medicine, University of FribourgFribourg, Switzerland; Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Kidney Control of Homeostasis "Kidney.CH"Zurich, Switzerland.

Obesity is associated with development and progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Recent evidence demonstrates that enhanced levels of the L-arginine:ureahydrolase, including the two isoenzymes arginase-I (Arg-I) and arginase-II (Arg-II) in vascular endothelial cells promote uncoupling of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), leading to increased superoxide radical anion and decreased NO production thereby endothelial dysfunction. Arg-II but not Arg-I is abundantly expressed in kidney and the role of Arg-II in CKD is uncertain and controversial. We aimed to investigate the role of Arg-II in renal damage associated with diet-induced obesity mouse model. Wild type (WT) C57BL/6 mice and mice deficient in Arg-II gene (Arg-II) were fed with either a normal chow (NC) or a high-fat-diet (HFD) for 14 weeks (starting at the age of 7 weeks) to induce obesity. In WT mice, HFD feeding caused frequent renal lipid accumulation, enhancement of renal reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels which could be attenuated by a NOS inhibitor, suggesting uncoupling of NOS in kidney. HFD feeding also significantly augmented renal Arg-II expression and activity. All the alterations in the kidney under HFD feeding were reduced in Arg-II mice. Moreover, mesangial expansion as analyzed by Periodic Acid Schiff (PAS) staining and renal expression of vascular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) in HFD-fed WT mouse assessed by immunoblotting were reduced in the HFD-fed Arg-II mice, although there was no significant difference in body weight and renal weight/body weight ratio between the WT and Arg-II mice. Thus, Arg-II expression/activity is enhanced in kidney of diet-induced obesity mice. Genetic targeting of Arg-II prevents renal damage associated with obesity, suggesting an important role of Arg-II in obesity-associated renal disease development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2016.00560DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5118905PMC
November 2016

Brain interstitial fluid glutamine homeostasis is controlled by blood-brain barrier SLC7A5/LAT1 amino acid transporter.

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2016 11 19;36(11):1929-1941. Epub 2015 Oct 19.

Institute of Physiology, Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP) and NCCR Kidney. CH, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

L-glutamine (Gln) is the most abundant amino acid in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid and a precursor for the main central nervous system excitatory (L-glutamate) and inhibitory (γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)) neurotransmitters. Concentrations of Gln and 13 other brain interstitial fluid amino acids were measured in awake, freely moving mice by hippocampal microdialysis using an extrapolation to zero flow rate method. Interstitial fluid levels for all amino acids including Gln were ∼5-10 times lower than in cerebrospinal fluid. Although the large increase in plasma Gln by intraperitoneal (IP) injection of N-labeled Gln (hGln) did not increase total interstitial fluid Gln, low levels of hGln were detected in microdialysis samples. Competitive inhibition of system A (SLC38A1&2; SNAT1&2) or system L (SLC7A5&8; LAT1&2) transporters in brain by perfusion with α-(methylamino)-isobutyric acid (MeAIB) or 2-aminobicyclo-(2,2,1)-heptane-2-carboxylic acid (BCH) respectively, was tested. The data showed a significantly greater increase in interstitial fluid Gln upon BCH than MeAIB treatment. Furthermore, brain BCH perfusion also strongly increased the influx of hGln into interstitial fluid following IP injection consistent with transstimulation of LAT1-mediated transendothelial transport. Taken together, the data support the independent homeostatic regulation of amino acids in interstitial fluid vs. cerebrospinal fluid and the role of the blood-brain barrier expressed SLC7A5/LAT1 as a key interstitial fluid gatekeeper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0271678X15609331DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5094305PMC
November 2016

Real-time functional characterization of cationic amino acid transporters using a new FRET sensor.

Pflugers Arch 2016 Apr 11;468(4):563-72. Epub 2015 Nov 11.

Institute of Physiology, Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP) and NCCR Kidney.CH, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057, Zurich, Switzerland.

L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that serves as precursor for the production of urea, nitric oxide (NO), polyamines, and other biologically important metabolites. Hence, a fast and reliable assessment of its intracellular concentration changes is highly desirable. Here, we report on a genetically encoded Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based arginine nanosensor that employs the arginine repressor/activator ahrC gene from Bacillus subtilis. This new nanosensor was expressed in HEK293T cells, and experiments with cell lysate showed that it binds L-arginine with high specificity and with a K d of ∼177 μM. Live imaging experiments showed that the nanosensor was expressed throughout the cytoplasm and displayed a half maximal FRET increase at an extracellular L-arginine concentration of ∼22 μM. By expressing the nanosensor together with SLC7A1, SLC7A2B, or SLC7A3 cationic amino acid transporters (CAT1-3), it was shown that L-arginine was imported at a similar rate via SLC7A1 and SLC7A2B and slower via SLC7A3. In contrast, upon withdrawal of extracellular L-arginine, intracellular levels decreased as fast in SLC7A3-expressing cells compared with SLC7A1, but the efflux was slower via SLC7A2B. SLC7A4 (CAT4) could not be convincingly shown to transport L-arginine. We also demonstrated the impact of membrane potential on L-arginine transport and showed that physiological concentrations of symmetrical and asymmetrical dimethylarginine do not significantly interfere with L-arginine transport through SLC7A1. Our results demonstrate that the FRET nanosensor can be used to assess L-arginine transport through plasma membrane in real time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00424-015-1754-9DOI Listing
April 2016

LAPTM4b recruits the LAT1-4F2hc Leu transporter to lysosomes and promotes mTORC1 activation.

Nat Commun 2015 May 22;6:7250. Epub 2015 May 22.

Program in Cell Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Biochemistry Department, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5G 0A4, Canada.

Mammalian target of rapamycin 1 (mTORC1), a master regulator of cellular growth, is activated downstream of growth factors, energy signalling and intracellular essential amino acids (EAAs) such as Leu. mTORC1 activation occurs at the lysosomal membrane, and involves V-ATPase stimulation by intra-lysosomal EAA (inside-out activation), leading to activation of the Ragulator, RagA/B-GTP and mTORC1 via Rheb-GTP. How Leu enters the lysosomes is unknown. Here we identified the lysosomal protein LAPTM4b as a binding partner for the Leu transporter, LAT1-4F2hc (SLC7A5-SLAC3A2). We show that LAPTM4b recruits LAT1-4F2hc to lysosomes, leading to uptake of Leu into lysosomes, and is required for mTORC1 activation via V-ATPase following EAA or Leu stimulation. These results demonstrate a functional Leu transporter at the lysosome, and help explain the inside-out lysosomal activation of mTORC1 by Leu/EAA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms8250DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4455107PMC
May 2015

Human intestine luminal ACE2 and amino acid transporter expression increased by ACE-inhibitors.

Amino Acids 2015 Apr 23;47(4):693-705. Epub 2014 Dec 23.

Institute of Physiology and Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Sodium-dependent neutral amino acid transporter B(0)AT1 (SLC6A19) and imino acid (proline) transporter SIT1 (SLC6A20) are expressed at the luminal membrane of small intestine enterocytes and proximal tubule kidney cells where they exert key functions for amino acid (re)absorption as documented by their role in Hartnup disorder and iminoglycinuria, respectively. Expression of B(0)AT1 was shown in rodent intestine to depend on the presence of the carboxypeptidase angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). This enzyme belongs to the renin-angiotensin system and its expression is induced by treatment with ACE-inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin II AT1 receptor blockers (ARBs) in many rodent tissues. We show here in the Xenopus laevis oocyte expression system that human ACE2 also functionally interacts with SIT1. To investigate in human intestine the potential effect of ACEIs or ARBs on ACE2, we analysed intestinal biopsies taken during routine gastroduodenoscopy and ileocolonoscopy from 46 patients of which 9 were under ACEI and 13 ARB treatment. Analysis of transcript expression by real-time PCR and of proteins by immunofluorescence showed a co-localization of SIT1 and B(0)AT1 with ACE2 in the brush-border membrane of human small intestine enterocytes and a distinct axial expression pattern of the tested gene products along the intestine. Patients treated with ACEIs displayed in comparison with untreated controls increased intestinal mRNA levels of ACE2, peptide transporter PEPT1 (SLC15A1) and AA transporters B(0)AT1 and PAT1 (SLC36A1). This study unravels in human intestine the localization and distribution of intestinal transporters involved in amino acid absorption and suggests that ACEIs impact on their expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00726-014-1889-6DOI Listing
April 2015
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