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. 1999 Aug 6;274(32):22739-46.
doi: 10.1074/jbc.274.32.22739.

Molecular Cloning and Characterization of a Channel-Like Transporter Mediating Intestinal Calcium Absorption

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Molecular Cloning and Characterization of a Channel-Like Transporter Mediating Intestinal Calcium Absorption

J B Peng et al. J Biol Chem. .
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Calcium is a major component of the mineral phase of bone and serves as a key intracellular second messenger. Postnatally, all bodily calcium must be absorbed from the diet through the intestine. Here we report the properties of a calcium transport protein (CaT1) cloned from rat duodenum using an expression cloning strategy in Xenopus laevis oocytes, which likely plays a key role in the intestinal uptake of calcium. CaT1 shows homology (75% amino acid sequence identity) to the apical calcium channel ECaC recently cloned from vitamin D-responsive cells of rabbit kidney and is structurally related to the capsaicin receptor and the TRP family of ion channels. Based on Northern analysis of rat tissues, a 3-kilobase CaT1 transcript is present in rat duodenum, proximal jejunum, cecum, and colon, and a 6.5-kilobase transcript is present in brain, thymus, and adrenal gland. In situ hybridization revealed strong CaT1 mRNA expression in enterocytes of duodenum, proximal jejunum, and cecum. No signals were detected in kidney, heart, liver, lung, spleen, and skeletal muscle. When expressed in Xenopus oocytes, CaT1 mediates saturable Ca(2+) uptake with a Michaelis constant of 0.44 mM. Transport of Ca(2+) by CaT1 is electrogenic, voltage-dependent, and exhibits a charge/Ca(2+) uptake ratio close to 2:1, indicating that CaT1-mediated Ca(2+) influx is not coupled to other ions. CaT1 activity is pH-sensitive, exhibiting significant inhibition by low pH. CaT1 is also permeant to Sr(2+) and Ba(2+) (but not Mg(2+)), although the currents evoked by Sr(2+) and Ba(2+) are much smaller than those evoked by Ca(2+). The trivalent cations Gd(3+) and La(3+) and the divalent cations Cu(2+), Pb(2+), Cd(2+), Co(2+), and Ni(2+) (each at 100 microM) do not evoke currents themselves, but inhibit CaT1-mediated Ca(2+) transport. Fe(3+), Fe(2+), Mn(2+), and Zn(2+) have no significant effects at 100 microM on CaT1-mediated Ca(2+) transport. CaT1 mRNA levels are not responsive to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) administration or to calcium deficiency. Our studies strongly suggest that CaT1 provides the principal mechanism for Ca(2+) entry into enterocytes as part of the transcellular pathway of calcium absorption in the intestine.

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