Hypotaurine is a precursor of taurine and a physiological antioxidant that circulates in adult and fetal plasma. The purpose of the present study was to clarify whether hypotaurine is a substrate of Slc6a/gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transporter family members. Radiolabeled hypotaurine was synthesized from radiolabeled cysteamine and 2-aminoethanethiol dioxygenase. The uptakes of [3H]GABA, [3H]taurine, and [14C]hypotaurine by HEK293 cells expressing mouse GAT1/Slc6a1, TAUT/Slc6a6, GAT3/Slc6a11, BGT1/Slc6a12, and GAT2/Slc6a13 were measured. TAUT and GAT2 showed strong [14C]hypotaurine uptake activity, while BGT1 showed moderate activity, and GAT1 and GAT3 showed slight but significant activity. Mouse TAUT and GAT2 both showed Michaelis constants of 11 µM for hypotaurine uptake. GAT2-expressing cells pretreated with hypotaurine showed resistance to H2O2-induced oxidative stress. These results suggest that under physiological conditions, TAUT and GAT2 would be major contributors to hypotaurine transfer across the plasma membrane, and that uptake of hypotaurine via GAT2 contributes to the cellular resistance to oxidative stress.
Keywords: antioxidant; gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA); hypotaurine; taurine; transporter.