Hepatocytes show a Na+-dependent nucleoside transport activity that is kinetically heterogeneous and consistent with the expression of at least two independent concentrative Na+-coupled nucleoside transport systems (Mercader et al. Biochem. J. 317, 835-842, 1996). So far, only a single nucleoside carrier-related cDNA (SPNT) has been isolated from liver cells (Che et al. J. Biol. Chem. 270, 13596-13599, 1995). This cDNA presumably encodes a plasma membrane protein responsible for Na+-dependent purine nucleoside transport activity. Thus, the liver must express, at least, a second nucleoside transporter which should be pyrimidine-preferring. Homology cloning using RT-PCR revealed that a second isoform is indeed present in liver. This second isoform turned out to be identical to the ‘epithelial-specific isoform’ called cNT1, which shows in fact high specificity for pyrimidine nucleosides. Although cNT1 mRNA is present at lower amounts than SPNT mRNA, the amounts of cNT1 protein, when measured using isoform-specific polyclonal antibodies, were even higher than the SPNT protein levels. Moreover, partially purified basolateral plasma membrane vesicles from liver were enriched in the SPNT but not in the cNT1 protein, which suggests that the subcellular localization of these carrier proteins is different. SPNT and cNT1 protein amounts in crude membrane extracts from 6 h-regenerating rat livers are higher than in the preparations from sham-operated controls (3.5- and 2-fold, respectively). These results suggest that liver parenchymal cells express at least two different isoforms of concentrative nucleoside carriers, the cNT1 and SPNT proteins, which show differential regulation and subcellular localization.
- The Biochemical Society, London © 1998