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J Biol Chem. 1999 Apr 23;274(17):11455-8.

Cloning and expression of a plasma membrane cystine/glutamate exchange transporter composed of two distinct proteins.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8575 Japan.


Transport system xc- found in plasma membrane of cultured mammalian cells is an exchange agency for anionic amino acids with high specificity for anionic form of cystine and glutamate. We have isolated cDNA encoding the transporter for system xc- from mouse activated macrophages by expression in Xenopus oocytes. The expression of system xc- activity in oocytes required two cDNA transcripts, and the sequence analysis revealed that one is identical with the heavy chain of 4F2 cell surface antigen (4F2hc) and the other is a novel protein of 502 amino acids with 12 putative transmembrane domains. The latter protein, named xCT, showed a significant homology with those recently reported to mediate cationic or zwitterionic amino acid transport when co-expressed with 4F2hc. Thus xCT is a new member of a family of amino acid transporters that form heteromultimeric complex with 4F2hc, with a striking difference in substrate specificity. The expression of system xc- was highly regulated, and Northern blot analysis demonstrated that the expression of both 4F2hc and xCT was enhanced in macrophages stimulated by lipopolysaccharide or an electrophilic agent. However, the expression of xCT was more directly correlated with the system xc- activity.

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