Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS Biol. 2007 Oct;5(10):e257.

Nanosensor detection of an immunoregulatory tryptophan influx/kynurenine efflux cycle.

Author information

  • 1Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution, Stanford, California, United States of America.

Abstract

Mammalian cells rely on cellular uptake of the essential amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan sequestration by up-regulation of the key enzyme for tryptophan degradation, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), e.g., in cancer and inflammation, is thought to suppress the immune response via T cell starvation. Additionally, the excreted tryptophan catabolites (kynurenines) induce apoptosis of lymphocytes. Whereas tryptophan transport systems have been identified, the molecular nature of kynurenine export remains unknown. To measure cytosolic tryptophan steady-state levels and flux in real time, we developed genetically encoded fluorescence resonance energy transfer nanosensors (FLIPW). The transport properties detected by FLIPW in KB cells, a human oral cancer cell line, and COS-7 cells implicate LAT1, a transporter that is present in proliferative tissues like cancer, in tryptophan uptake. Importantly, we found that this transport system mediates tryptophan/kynurenine exchange. The tryptophan influx/kynurenine efflux cycle couples tryptophan starvation to elevation of kynurenine serum levels, providing a two-pronged induction of apoptosis in neighboring cells. The strict coupling protects cells that overproduce IDO from kynurenine accumulation. Consequently, this mechanism may contribute to immunosuppression involved in autoimmunity and tumor immune escape.

PMID:
17896864
PMCID:
PMC1988858
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pbio.0050257
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center