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Biochemistry. 1992 Feb 25;31(7):1974-9.

Expression of a cloned gamma-aminobutyric acid transporter in mammalian cells.

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Department of Biochemistry, Hadassah Medical School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.


The cDNA clone GAT-1, which encodes a Na(+)- and Cl(-)-coupled GABA transporter from rat brain, has been expressed in mammalian cells using three different systems: (1) transient expression upon transfection of mouse Ltk- cells with a eukaryotic expression vector containing GAT-1; (2) stable expression in L-cells transfected with the same vector; (3) transfection of HeLa cells infected with a recombinant vaccinia virus expressing T7 RNA polymerase. Similar results both qualitatively and quantitatively were obtained with all systems. The GABA transporter expressed in HeLa and L-cells retains all the properties described previously for GABA transport into synaptosomes and synaptic plasma membrane vesicles. It was fully inhibited by cis-3-aminocyclohexanecarboxylic acid (ACHC) and not by beta-alanine. The KM for GABA transport and the IC50 for ACHC inhibition were similar to the presynaptic transporter. Accumulated [3H]GABA was released from transfected cells by dissipating the transmembrane Na+ gradient with nigericin or by exchange with unlabeled external GABA. Accumulation was stimulated by both Na+ and Cl- in the external medium. However, in the absence of external Cl-, a small amount of GABA transport remained which was dependent on GAT-1 transfection. Functional expression of the GABA transporter was abolished by tunicamycin. An antitransporter antibody specifically immunoprecipitates a polypeptide with an apparent molecular mass of about 70 kDa from GAT-1-transfected cells. When cells were grown in the presence of tunicamycin, only a faint band of apparent mass of about 60 kDa was observed.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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