Small molecule inhibitors provide insights into the relevance of LAT1 and LAT2 in materno-foetal amino acid transport.

Zaugg, Jonas; Huang, Xiao; Ziegler, Fabian; Rubin, Matthias; Graff, Julien; Müller, Jennifer; Moser-Hässig, Ruedi; Powell, Theresa; Gertsch, Jürg; Altmann, Karl-Heinz; Albrecht, Christiane (2020). Small molecule inhibitors provide insights into the relevance of LAT1 and LAT2 in materno-foetal amino acid transport. Journal of cellular and molecular medicine, 24(21), pp. 12681-12693. Wiley 10.1111/jcmm.15840

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The placenta supplies the foetus with critical nutrients such as essential amino acids (AA, eg leucine) for development and growth. It also represents a cellular barrier which is formed by a polarized, differentiated syncytiotrophoblast (STB) monolayer. Active Na+ -independent leucine transport across the placenta is mainly attributed to the System L transporters LAT1/SLC7A5 and LAT2/SLC7A8. This study explored the influence of trophoblast differentiation on the activity of LAT1/LAT2 and the relevance of LAT1/LAT2 in leucine uptake and transfer in trophoblasts by applying specific small molecule inhibitors (JPH203/JG336/JX009). L-leucine uptake (total dose = 167 μmol/L) was sensitive to LAT1-specific inhibition by JPH203 (EC50  = 2.55 µmol/L). The inhibition efficiency of JPH203 was increased by an additional methoxy group in the JPH203-derivate JG336 (EC50  = 1.99 µmol/L). Interestingly, JX009 showed efficient System L inhibition (EC50  = 2.35 µmol/L) and was the most potent inhibitor of leucine uptake in trophoblasts. The application of JPH203 and JX009 in Transwell® -based leucine transfer revealed LAT1 as the major accumulative transporter at the apical membrane, but other System L transporters such as LAT2 as rate-limiting for leucine efflux across the basal membrane. Therefore, differential specificity of the applied inhibitors allowed for estimation of the contribution of LAT1 and LAT2 in materno-foetal AA transfer and their potential impact in pregnancy diseases associated with impaired foetal growth.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Faculty Institutions > NCCR TransCure

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Zaugg, Jonas; Gertsch, Jürg and Albrecht, Christiane


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Jonas Zaugg

Date Deposited:

14 Oct 2020 15:24

Last Modified:

27 Nov 2020 01:32

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

BeWo LAT1 (SLC7A5) LAT2 (SLC7A8) Transwell leucine uptake monolayer placenta transplacental amino acid transport trophoblast trophoblast differentiation




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