Unique and selective expression of L-amino acid transporter 1 in human tissue as well as being an aspect of oncofetal protein

Histol Histopathol. 2014 Feb;29(2):217-27. doi: 10.14670/HH-29.217. Epub 2013 Jul 5.


Dysregulated expression of L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1), which transports large neutral amino acids, is a characteristic of various human cancers and possibly offers a molecular target for chemotherapy. LAT2, in contrast, shows lower expression in neoplasms. LAT1 is presumed to be a biomarker of many cancers, suggesting a kind of oncoprotein. However, no precise analysis of LAT1 and LAT2 expression has been performed in systemic normal tissues. To see characteristics of LAT1 and LAT2, immunohistochemical expression of LAT1 and LAT2 was assessed and compared in normal human systemic organs and tissues from 3 adults, 3 children and 3 fetuses in the present study. Cardiac muscles, hepatocytes, thymic epithelial cells and primitive neuroectodermal cells in fetus were positive with LAT1, whereas no expression was found in the respective adult tissues, indicating an aspect of oncofetal protein. In adult tissues, LAT1 was found to be expressed proximal to proliferative zones in gastrointestinal mucosa by double immunostaining of LAT1 and Ki-67. Testicular Sertoli cells, ovarian follicular cells, and pancreatic islet cells showed strong expression. Although the systemic capillary endothelium did not express LAT1, but did express LAT2, capillaries corresponding to the blood-brain, blood-follicle, and blood-retinal barriers demonstrated strong LAT1 immunoreactions. In conclusion, LAT1 was expressed in gonad tissues and several kinds of cells having special functions, as well as being discovered to be an aspect of oncofetal protein. In addition, ubiquitous LAT2 expression was confirmed immunohistochemically in systemic tissues, indicating constitutional function.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fetus / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Large Neutral Amino Acid-Transporter 1 / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Testis / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • LAT2 protein, human
  • Large Neutral Amino Acid-Transporter 1