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J Physiol. 2012 Dec 15;590(24):6413-24. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.239574. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

T-type amino acid transporter TAT1 (Slc16a10) is essential for extracellular aromatic amino acid homeostasis control.

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Institute of Physiology and Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP), University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


The uniporter TAT1 (Slc16a10) mediates the facilitated diffusion of aromatic amino acids (AAAs) across basolateral membranes of kidney, small intestine and liver epithelial cells, and across the plasma membrane of non-epithelial cells like skeletal myocytes. Its role for body AA homeostasis has now been investigated using newly generated TAT1 (Slc16a10) defective mice (tat1(-/-)). These mice grow and reproduce normally, show no gross phenotype and no obvious neurological defect. Histological analysis did not reveal abnormalities and there is no compensatory change in any tested AA transporter mRNA. TAT1 null mice, however, display increased plasma, muscle and kidney AAA concentration under both normal and high protein diet, although this concentration remains normal in the liver. A major aromatic aminoaciduria and a smaller urinary loss of all substrates additionally transported by l-type AA antiporter Lat2-4F2hc (Slc7a8) were revealed under a high protein diet. This suggests an epithelial transport defect as also shown by the accumulation of intravenously injected (123)I-2-I-l-Phe in kidney and l-[(3)H]Phe in ex vivo everted gut sac enterocytes. Taken together, these data indicate that the uniporter TAT1 is required to equilibrate the concentration of AAAs across specific membranes. For instance, it enables hepatocytes to function as a sink that controls the extracellular AAAs concentration. Additionally, it facilitates the release of AAAs across the basolateral membrane of small intestine and proximal kidney tubule epithelial cells, thereby allowing the efflux of other neutral AAs presumably via Lat2-4F2hc.

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