Current perspectives on established and putative mammalian oligopeptide transporters

J Pharm Sci. 2003 Apr;92(4):691-714. doi: 10.1002/jps.10303.


Peptides and peptide-based drugs are increasingly being utilized as therapeutic agents for the treatment of numerous disorders. The increasing development of peptide-based therapeutic agents is largely due to technological advances including the advent of combinatorial peptide libraries, peptide synthesis strategies, and peptidomimetic design. Peptides and peptide-based agents have a broad range of potential clinical applications in the treatment of many disorders including AIDS, hypertension, and cancer. Peptides are generally hydrophilic and often exhibit poor passive transcellular diffusion across biological barriers. Insights into strategies for increasing their intestinal absorption have been derived from the numerous studies demonstrating that the absorption of protein digestion products occurs primarily in the form of small di- and tripeptides. The characterization of the pathways of intestinal, transepithelial transport of peptides and peptide-based drugs have demonstrated that a significant degree of absorption occurs through the role of proteins within the proton-coupled, oligopeptide transporter (POT) family. Considerable focus has been traditionally placed on Peptide Transporter 1 (PepT1) as the main mammalian POT member regulating intestinal peptide absorption. Recently, several new POT members, including Peptide/Histidine Transporter 1 (PHT1) and Peptide/Histidine Transporter 2 (PHT2) and their splice variants have been identified. This has led to an increased need for new experimental methods enabling better characterization of the biophysical and biochemical barriers and the role of these POT isoforms in mediating peptide-based drug transport.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mammals
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism*
  • Peptide Transporter 1
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Symporters / genetics
  • Symporters / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Oligopeptides
  • Peptide Transporter 1
  • Symporters
  • hydrogen-coupled oligopeptide transporter PepT2