Glutamate transport activities have been identified not only in the brain, but also in the liver, kidney, and intestine. Although glutamate transporter distributions in the central nervous system are fairly well known, there are still uncertainties with respect to the distribution of these transporters in peripheral organs. Quantitative information is mostly lacking, and few of the studies have included genetically modified animals as specificity controls. The present study provides validated qualitative and semi-quantitative data on the excitatory amino acid transporter (EAAT)1-3 subtypes in the mouse liver, kidney, and intestine. In agreement with the current view, we found high EAAT3 protein levels in the brush borders of both the distal small intestine and the renal proximal tubules. Neither EAAT1 nor EAAT2 was detected at significant levels in murine kidney or intestine. In contrast, the liver only expressed EAAT2 (but 2 C-terminal splice variants). EAAT2 was detected in the plasma membranes of perivenous hepatocytes. These cells also expressed glutamine synthetase. Conditional deletion of hepatic EAAT2 did neither lead to overt neurological disturbances nor development of fatty liver.
Keywords: EAAT1; EAAT2; EAAT3; antibody specificity; cysteine; glutamine synthetase; hepatocyte; proximal tubules.