Tertiary active transport of amino acids reconstituted by coexpression of System A and L transporters in Xenopus oocytes

Fiona E. Baird, Kevin J. Bett, Catherine MacLean, Andrew R. Tee, Harinder S. Hundal, Peter M. Taylor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    52 Citations (Scopus)


    Baird FE, Bett KJ, MacLean C, Tee AR, Hundal HS, Taylor PM. Tertiary active transport of amino acids reconstituted by coexpression of System A and L transporters in Xenopus oocytes. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 297: E822-E829, 2009. First published July 21, 2009; doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00330.2009.-The System L transporter facilitates cellular import of large neutral amino acids (AAs) such as Leu, a potent activator of the intracellular target of rapamycin (TOR) pathway, which signals for cell growth. System L is an AA exchanger, proposed to accumulate certain AAs by coupling to dissipation of concentration gradient(s) of exchange substrates generated by secondary active AA transporters such as System A (SNAT2). We addressed the hypothesis that this type of coupling (termed tertiary active transport) acts as an indirect mechanism to extend the range of AA stimulating TOR to those transported by both Systems A and L (e. g., Gln) through downstream enhancement of Leu accumulation. System A overexpression enabled Xenopus oocytes to accumulate substrate AAs (notably Ser, Gln, Ala, Pro, Met; totaling 2.6 nmol/oocyte) from medium containing a physiological AA mixture at plasma concentrations. Net accumulation of System L (4F2hc-xLAT1) substrates from this medium by System L-overexpressing oocytes was increased by 90% (from 0.7 to 1.35 nmol/oocyte; mainly Leu, Ile) when Systems A and L were coexpressed, coincident with a decline in accumulation of specific System A substrates (Gln, Ser, Met), as expected if the latter were also System L substrates and functional coupling of the transport Systems occurred. AA flux coupling was confirmed as trans-stimulation of Leu influx in System L-expressing oocytes by Gln injection (0.5 nmol/oocyte). The observed changes in Leu accumulation are sufficient to activate the TOR pathway in oocytes, although intracellular AA metabolism limits the potential for AA accumulation by tertiary active transport in this system.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)E822-E829
    Number of pages8
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009


    • nutrient transport
    • target of rapamycin pathway
    • glutamine
    • leucine
    • amino acid exchanger

    Cite this