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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Oct 18;1472(1-2):128-36.

Creatine accumulation and exchange by HEK293 cells stably expressing high levels of a creatine transporter.

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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand.


We have generated a stable HEK293 cell line expressing high levels of a creatine transporter (CREAT). This cell line (HEK293-CREAT) was used to study the properties of CREAT in terms of the accumulation and release of creatine. HEK293-CREAT cells accumulated high steady state levels of creatine under saturating creatine levels (approx. 25-fold higher intracellular creatine levels than seen in control cells). The accumulation of high levels of creatine affected [3H]creatine uptake by decreasing the Vmax for transport. High intracellular creatine levels were maintained in the absence of extracellular creatine. External creatine stimulated the release of stored creatine by an exchange mechanism dependent on extracellular Na+. These studies have shown that cellular creatine levels can be affected by the amount of creatine transporter in the membrane and exchange through the creatine transporter. These findings highlight the importance of the creatine transporter in the maintenance of intracellular creatine levels.

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