Amino acid transporters are proteins that transport amino acids across the membrane. We report here the isolation and characterization of a novel human cDNA clone encoding a protein of 547 amino acids. This protein shares ∼50% amino acid sequence homology with the amino acid transporters mouse mNAT and its orthologs, rat SN1 and human g17, and mouse GlnT/ATA1 and ATA2. Expression of this cRNA in Xenopus oocytes revealed that the strongest transport activities were specific for L-alanine. In addition, hNAT3 is a Na+- and pH-dependent, low-affinity transporter and partially tolerates substitution of Na+ by Li+. Since this protein has sequence and functional similarities to the previously identified system N amino acid transporters, we named this protein hNAT3. The genomic DNA sequence encoding the transcript of hNAT3 spans over 14 kb with 16 exons and 15 introns. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization, we mapped the hNAT3 gene to human chromosome 12q12-q13. By RT-PCR of embryonic and adult human tissues, hNAT3 was detected to be predominately expressed in the liver and to a much lesser extent in the muscle, kidney, and pancreas. The data obtained in this study are likely to offer critical clues for identification of amino acid transporter-associated diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas