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Associations between transports of alanine and cations across cell membrane in rat hepatocytes.

The American journal of physiology (1986-11-01)
L O Kristensen
ABSTRACT

Alanine transport across the liver cell membrane is a regulated key process in the amino acid metabolism of the body. The majority of alanine influx in hepatocytes is Na+ dependent and is stimulated by intracellular negativity. The molar ratio between cotransported Na+ and alanine is 1:1. Alanine efflux is stimulated by intracellular Na+, whereas the role of the membrane potential is unclear. The transmembrane Na+ electrochemical gradient seems to be the exclusive driving force for cellular alanine accumulation. At a physiological Na+ gradient, intracellular alanine can exceed the extracellular concentration about 20-fold, but metabolism will exert a conspicuous sink effect. Na+-coupled uptake of alanine appears to be a challenge that triggers a sequence of regulatory events: increased cellular Na+ leads to an increase in active Na+-K+-pumping and thus in K+ influx; influx of alanine and cations tends to increase the cellular content of osmotically active substances implying a tendency to water uptake; cell swelling, even when modest, induces an increase in the permeability of a conductive pathway for K+ leading to net efflux of K+ (with accompanying anions) and cellular hyperpolarization. Net efflux of K+ prevents excessive cell volume increase during amino acid accumulation, whereas hyperpolarization tends to support the driving force for alanine influx (and anion efflux). The pathway for K+ efflux needs further characterization, but it may involve single-file diffusion with Ca2+ as an activator. This model suggests that cell volume regulatory processes mainly serve to compensate for changes in intracellular content of ions and metabolites during activation of specialized cellular processes.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

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L-Alanine, ≥98% (TLC)
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L-Alanine, Pharmaceutical Secondary Standard; Certified Reference Material
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L-Alanine-12C3, 99.9 atom % 12C