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Brain Res. 1982 May 6;239(1):153-73.

Evidence for cysteine sulfinate as a neurotransmitter.


The Na+-independent binding of L-[3H]cysteine sulfinate and L-[3H]cysteine sulfinate uptake were investigated in rat brain membranes and vesicles. Specific binding of L-[3H]cysteine sulfinate was saturable and occurred by a single high affinity process with a Kb of 100 nM +/- 9 and a capacity (Bmax) of 2.4 +/- 0.22 pmol/mg protein. Sodium ions were found to have a biphasic effect; low concentrations (in the range of 0.1-3 mM) induced a marked inhibition of the binding whereas higher concentrations (10-300 mM) resulted in a dose-dependent stimulation of binding. The inhibition potency, expressed as the Ki values of a wide range of compounds with known pharmacological activities was tested. L-Cysteine sulfinate was the most potent inhibitor being 3-fold more potent than L-glutamate and 80 times more potent than L-aspartate. The regional distribution of the binding of L-[3H]cysteine sulfinate in the brain was found to be heterogeneous. These results provide the first evidence for an interaction of cysteine sulfinate with specific receptor sites on the synaptic membrane. The rate of L-[3H]cysteine sulfinate uptake shows a biphasic dependence on the concentration of L-cysteine sulfinate, corresponding to a high affinity (27.2 microM) and a low affinity (398 microM) transport system. The maximum L-[3H]cysteine sulfinate uptake is reached at 2 min. The reversibility of this transport was demonstrated. The L-[3H]cysteine sulfinate uptake increases as a function of the sodium concentration. Chloride and potassium ions stimulate the uptake. The decrease or increase in the electrical membrane potential (delta psi) caused by replacing the chloride ions by the sulfate or sulfocyanate ions respectively leads to a decrease or increase in the rate of uptake. Increase in the extravesicular osmolarity leads to a decrease in the extent of L-[3H]cysteine sulfinate accumulation. Amino acids with an acidic group in position omega were found to be potent inhibitors (the most potent being L-aspartate). The length of the carbon chain also has a bearing on the inhibitory effect. The regional distribution of L-[3H]cysteine sulfinate uptake in the brain was heterogeneous. These results demonstrate the existence of a high affinity system which may correspond to the transmitter inactivation. Binding and uptake sites are distinguishable as evidenced by the affinity constants, the ionic and pharmacological effects and the different regional distributions in the brain. Finally, these results give further evidence for a neurotransmitter role of L-cysteine sulfinate.

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