Asymmetrical distribution of Na(+)- and Cl(-)-dependent neurotransmitter transporters on the cell surface of polarized cells seems to be a generalized feature in this gene family. In the present study we analyzed the subcellular distribution of the various isoforms of the glycine transporters GLYT1 and GLYT2 after heterologous expression in polarized MDCK cells and in hippocampal neurons. Our results indicate that glycine transporters are asymmetrically distributed in an isoform- and cell-type-specific manner. GLYT1b is localized in the basolateral and somatodendritic domains of MDCK cells and neurons, respectively. However, GLYT1a is somatodendritic in neurons but is predominantly expressed in the apical surface of MDCK cells. The two isoforms of GLYT2 (GLYT2a and GLYT2b) are found at the apical surface in epithelial cells but are uniformly distributed in neurons. By using site-directed mutagenesis we have been able to identify signals for basolateral/somatodendritic localization in the amino-terminal region of GLYT1 and in two dileucine motifs located in the carboxyl tail of this protein. These results contribute to defining the mechanisms of asymmetrical distribution of transporters on the cell surface of polarized cells.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.