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J Biol Chem. 1983 Dec 10;258(23):14239-44.

Neutral amino acid transport in isolated rat pancreatic islets.


The neutral amino acid transport systems of freshly isolated rat pancreatic islets have been studied by first examining the transport of L-alanine and the nonmetabolizable analogue 2-(methylamino)isobutyric acid (MeAIB). By comparing the uptake of MeAIB and L-alanine for their pH dependency profile, choline and Li+ substitution for Na+, tolerance to N-methylation, and competition with other amino acids, the existence in pancreatic islets of both A and ASC amino acid transport systems was established. The systems responsible for the inward transport of five natural amino acids was studied using competition analysis and Na+ dependency of uptake. These studies defined three neutral amino acid transport systems: A and ASC (Na+-dependent) and L (Na+-independent). L-Proline entered rat islet cells mainly by system A; L-leucine by the Na+-independent system L. The uptake of L-alanine, L-serine, and L-glutamine was shared by systems ASC and L, the participation of system A being negligible for these three amino acids. An especially broad substrate specificity for systems L and ASC is therefore suggested for the rat pancreatic islet cells. The regulation of amino acid transport was also investigated in two conditions differing as to glucose concentration and/or availability, i.e. islets from fasted rats and islets maintained in tissue culture at high or low glucose concentrations. Neither alanine nor MeAIB transport was altered by fasting of the islet-donor rats. On the other hand, pancreatic islets maintained for 2 days in tissue culture at high (16.7 mM) glucose transported MeAIB at twice the rate of islets maintained at low (2.8 mM) glucose. Amino acid starvation of pancreatic islets during 11 h of tissue culture resulted in a 2-fold increase in MeAIB transport.

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