The proton-coupled amino acid transporter, SLC36A1 (hPAT1), transports Gly-Gly, Gly-Sar and other Gly-Gly mimetics


Dr Carsten Uhd Nielsen, Department of Pharmaceutics and Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsaprken 2, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark. E-mail:


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The intestinal proton-coupled amino acid transporter, SLC36A1, transports zwitterionic α-amino acids and drugs such as vigabatrin, gaboxadol and δ-aminolevulinic acid. We hypothesize that SLC36A1 might also transport some dipeptides. The aim of the present study was to investigate SLC36A1-mediated transport of Gly-Gly and Gly-Gly mimetics, and to investigate Gly-Sar transport via SLC36A1 and the proton-coupled dipeptide/tripeptide transporter, SLC15A1 in Caco-2 cells.

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH Transport of a compound via SLC36A1 was determined by its ability to induce an increase in the inward current of two-electrode voltage clamped SLC36A1 cRNA-injected Xenopus laevis oocytes. SLC36A1-mediated l-[3H]Pro uptake in Caco-2 cells was measured in the absence and presence of Gly-Gly or Gly-Sar. In addition, apical [14C]Gly-Sar uptake was measured in the absence and presence of the SLC36A1 inhibitor 5-hydroxy-l-tryptophan (5-HTP) or the SLC15A1 inhibitor l-4,4′-biphenylalanyl-l-proline (Bip-Pro).

KEY RESULTS In SLC36A1-expressing oocytes, an inward current was induced by Gly-Sar, Gly-Gly, δ-aminolevulinic acid, β-aminoethylglycine, δ-aminopentanoic acid, GABA, Gly and Pro, whereas Val, Leu, mannitol, 5-HTP and the dipeptides Gly-Ala, Gly-Pro and Gly-Phe did not evoke currents. In Caco-2 cell monolayers, the apical uptake of 30 mM Gly-Sar was inhibited by 20 and 22% in the presence of 5-HTP or Bip-Pro, respectively, and by 48% in the presence of both.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS Our results suggest that whereas Gly-Gly amid bond bioisosteres are widely accepted by the hPAT1 carrier, dipeptides in general are not; and therefore, Gly-Sar might structurally define the size limit of dipeptide transport via SLC36A1.