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Biochem Cell Biol. 1998;76(5):853-8.

A highly selective, high-affinity transporter for uracil in Trypanosoma brucei brucei: evidence for proton-dependent transport.

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Research School of Biosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom.


The presence of an uptake mechanism for uracil in procyclic forms of the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei brucei was investigated. Uptake of [3H]uracil at 22 degrees C was rapid and saturable and appeared to be mediated by a single high-affinity transporter, designated U1, with an apparent Km of 0.46 +/- 0.09 microM and a Vmax of 0.65 +/- 0.08 pmol x (10(7) cells)(-1) x s(-1). [3H]Uracil uptake was not inhibited by a broad range of purine and pyrimidine nucleosides and nucleobases (concentrations up to 1 mM), with the exception of uridine, which acted as an apparent weak inhibitor (Ki value of 48 +/- 15 microM). Similarly, most chemical analogues of uracil, such as 5-chlorouracil, 3-deazauracil, and 2-thiouracil, had little or no affinity for the U1 carrier. Only 5-fluorouracil was found to be a relatively potent inhibitor of uracil uptake (Ki = 3.2 +/- 0.4 microM). Transport of uracil was independent of extracellular sodium and potassium gradients, as replacement of NaCl in the assay buffer by N-methyl-D-glucamine, KCl, LiCl, CsCl, or RbCl did not affect initial rates of transport. However, the proton ionophore carbonyl cyanide chlorophenylhydrazone inhibited up to 70% of [3H]uracil flux. These data show that uracil uptake in T. b. brucei procyclics is mediated by a single high-affinity transporter with high substrate selectivity and are consistent with a nucleobase-H+-symporter model for this carrier.

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