Different Pharmacological Properties of GLUT9a and GLUT9b: Potential Implications in Preeclampsia

Cell Physiol Biochem. 2019;53(3):508-517. doi: 10.33594/000000154.


Background/aims: Glucose transporter 9 (GLUT9/SLC2A9) is the major regulator of uric acid homeostasis in humans. Hyperuricemia due to impaired regulation by GLUT9 in pregnancy is closely associated with preeclampsia. While GLUT9 is expressed in two alternative splice variants, GLUT9a and GLUT9b, with different subcellular localizations, no functional differences of the two splice variants are known to date. The aim of this study was to investigate the function of both GLUT9 isoforms.

Methods: To characterize the different pharmacological properties of GLUT9a and GLUT9b electrophysiological studies of these isoforms and their modified variants, i.e. NmodGLUT9a and NmodGLUT9b, were performed using a Xenopus laevis oocytes model. Currents were measured by an electrode voltage clamp system.

Results: Functional experiments unveiled that uric acid transport mediated by GLUT9a but not GLUT9b is chloride-dependent: Replacing chloride by different anions resulted in a 3.43±0.63-fold increase of GLUT9a- but not GLUT9b-mediated currents. However, replacement by iodide resulted in a loss of current for GLUT9a but not GLUT9b. Iodide inhibits GLUT9a with an IC50 of 35.1±6.7µM. Modification of the N-terminal domain leads to a shift of the iodide IC50 to 1200±228µM. Using molecular docking studies, we identified two positively charged residues H23 and R31 in the N-terminal domain of hGLUT9a which can explain the observed functional differences.

Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study showing that the N-terminal domain of hGLUT9a has a unique regulatory function and the potential to interact with small negatively charged ions like iodide. These findings may have significant implications in our understanding of hyperuricemia-associated diseases, specifically during pregnancy.

Keywords: Electrophysiology; Glucose transporter type 9 (GLUT9); Iodine; Uric acid; Uric acid transport.

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Electrophysiology
  • Female
  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hyperuricemia / blood
  • Hyperuricemia / metabolism
  • Iodides / metabolism
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Pre-Eclampsia / blood*
  • Pregnancy
  • Uric Acid / blood


  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative
  • Iodides
  • SLC2A9 protein, human
  • Uric Acid