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Am J Physiol. 1995 Apr;268(4 Pt 1):G578-85.

Regulation of system y+ arginine transport capacity in differentiating human intestinal Caco-2 cells.

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Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610-0274, USA.


This study describes the ability of passaged human intestinal Caco-2 cells to regulate transport of L-arginine via system y+. Subconfluent and confluent cells possessed system y+ activity, as determined by the sodium independence of uptake and the pattern of inhibition by amino acid analogues or N-ethylmaleimide. Initial rates of arginine uptake via system y+ decreased as the cells advanced from the undifferentiated to the differentiated state following culture passaging. Furthermore, kinetic analysis of the leucine-insensitive portion of uptake indicated that the Caco-2 system y+ transport capacity decreased with cell age, dropping from a maximal velocity (Vmax) = 1,094 [Michaelis constant (Km) = 41 microM] in undifferentiated cells 2 days postseeding to Vmax = 320 (Km = 37 microM) in confluent cells 9 days postseeding (from cells of the same passage). Northern analysis indicated that the levels of a single 7.9-kb mCAT-1 mRNA species were relatively constant over the course of Caco-2 differentiation and therefore were unsynchronized with the system y+ relative transport activities. It is concluded that the Caco-2 capacity to transport arginine via system y+ may be downregulated by posttransitional modifications in confluent cells compared with newly passaged undifferentiated cells. These data serve as a well-defined in vitro model for further studies regarding regulation of arginine transport in epithelial cells.

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