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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2004 Jul;287(1):C30-5. Epub 2004 Feb 25.

Identification and characterization of a Kidd antigen/UT-B urea transporter expressed in human colon.

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Department of Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


We have identified a urea transporter from the mucosa of the human colon that has characteristics consistent with a Kidd antigen/UT-B urea transporter. This intestinal urea transporter encodes a 389-amino acid peptide with a sequence identical to that previously reported for the UT-B urea transporter in erythrocytes. Expression of a UT-B 2-kb mRNA transcript and of approximately 50- and approximately 98-kDa UT-B proteins is detected in human colonic mucosa by Northern and Western blot analysis. The UT-B protein is localized in the cell membrane and cytoplasm of the superficial intestinal epithelium and in the epithelial cells in the crypts. A 2-kb UT-B mRNA transcript and the UT-B protein were also identified in the intestinal cell line Caco-2. The transepithelial flux of (14)C urea was examined in Caco-2 cells growing on porous membrane support and was significantly inhibited by phloretin, 1,3-dimethylurea, and thiourea, suggesting that the transfer of urea across the Caco-2 monolayer could be mediated, at least in part, by the UT-B urea transporter. We conclude that the Kidd antigen/UT-B urea transporter is physiologically expressed in the human colon epithelium, where it could participate in the transport of urea across the colon mucosa.

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