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J Neurosci Res. 2006 Jun;83(8):1447-60.

Functional expression of A glutamine transporter responsive to down-regulation by lipopolysaccharide through reduced promoter activity in cultured rat neocortical astrocytes.

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Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Kanazawa, Japan.


The prevailing view is that the glutamine (Gln) transporter (GlnT/ATA1/SAT1/SNAT1) is a member of the system A transporter superfamily with the ability to fuel the glutamate/Gln cycle at nerve terminals in glutamatergic neurons. Semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction revealed similarly high expression of mRNA for GlnT by rat brain neocortical astrocytes as well as neurons, with progressively lower expression by cerebellar astrocytes, hippocampal astrocytes, and whole-brain microglia in culture. [(3)H]Gln was accumulated in a temperature-dependent manner with a saturable profile in both cultured neocortical neurons and astrocytes, whereas biochemical and pharmacological analyses on [(3)H]Gln accumulation revealed the expression of both system A and system L transporters by cultured neocortical neurons and astrocytes. Exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for 24 hr resulted in a significant decrease in both GlnT mRNA expression and [(3)H]Gln accumulation, with a concomitant drastic increase in nitrite formation in cultured neocortical astrocytes. Moreover, LPS significantly inhibited the promoter activity of GlnT in the astrocytic cell line C6 glioma cells as well as primary rat neocortical astrocytes in culture. These results suggest that activation by LPS would lead to down-regulation of the expression of GlnT responsible for the incorporation of extracellular Gln into intracellular spaces across plasma membranes through the inhibition of its promoter activity in cultured rat neocortical astrocytes.

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