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Biochem J. 2012 Aug 15;446(1):135-48. doi: 10.1042/BJ20120307.

Intestinal peptidases form functional complexes with the neutral amino acid transporter B(0)AT1.

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  • 1Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.


The brush-border membrane of the small intestine and kidney proximal tubule are the major sites for the absorption and re-absorption of nutrients in the body respectively. Transport of amino acids is mediated through the action of numerous secondary active transporters. In the mouse, neutral amino acids are transported by B(0)AT1 [broad neutral ((0)) amino acid transporter 1; SLC6A19 (solute carrier family 6 member 19)] in the intestine and by B(0)AT1 and B(0)AT3 (SLC6A18) in the kidney. Immunoprecipitation and Blue native electrophoresis of intestinal brush-border membrane proteins revealed that B(0)AT1 forms complexes with two peptidases, APN (aminopeptidase N/CD13) and ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2). Physiological characterization of B(0)AT1 expressed together with these peptidases in Xenopus laevis oocytes revealed that APN increased the substrate affinity of the transporter up to 2.5-fold and also increased its surface expression (V(max)). Peptide competition experiments, in silico modelling and site-directed mutagenesis of APN suggest that the catalytic site of the peptidase is involved in the observed changes of B(0)AT1 apparent substrate affinity, possibly by increasing the local substrate concentration. These results provide evidence for the existence of B(0)AT1-containing digestive complexes in the brush-border membrane, interacting differentially with various peptidases, and responding to the dynamic needs of nutrient absorption in the intestine and kidney.

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