Peptide transporter in the rat small intestine: ultrastructural localization and the effect of starvation and administration of amino acids

Histochem J. 1999 Mar;31(3):169-74. doi: 10.1023/a:1003515413550.


Peptide transporter-1 is a H+/peptide cotransporter responsible for the uptake of small peptides and peptide-like drugs, and is present in the absorptive epithelial cells of the villi in the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum). It has been localized to the apical microvillous plasma membrane of the absorptive epithelial cells of the rat small intestine using the immunogold electron microscopic technique. Digital image analysis of the jejunum revealed that the transporter protein was abundant at the tip of the villus and that the amount decreased from the tip of the villus to its base. The effect of dietary administration of amino acids and starvation on the expression of PepT1 in the jejunum was examined by immunoblotting and image analysis of immunofluorescence. Starvation markedly increased the amount of peptide transporter present, whereas dietary administration of amino acids reduced it. The gradient of the transporter protein along the crypt-villus axis was maintained under either condition. These observations show that it is specific to the microvillous plasma membrane and that its expression is regulated by the nutritional condition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Carrier Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Diet*
  • Dipeptides / metabolism*
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Jejunum / chemistry*
  • Jejunum / cytology
  • Jejunum / ultrastructure*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Peptide Transporter 1
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Symporters*


  • Amino Acids
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Dipeptides
  • Peptide Transporter 1
  • Slc15a1 protein, rat
  • Symporters