The relative roles of external taurine concentration and medium osmolality in the regulation of taurine transport in LLC-PK1 and MDCK cells

Pediatr Res. 1995 Feb;37(2):227-32. doi: 10.1203/00006450-199502000-00017.


Taurine is a beta-sulfonic amino acid that serves as a nutrient important for developing brain and retina and as an osmolyte in the medullary collecting duct. The activity of the taurine transport system is regulated by substrate supply and by the external osmolality; these two stimuli induce changes in taurine transport. Increased medium osmolality (500 mosmol) stimulates taurine uptake into MDCK cells but not LLC-PK1 cells. The enhanced taurine uptake that occurs in response to hyperosmolality is localized primarily to the basolateral surface of MDCK cells, whereas the adaptive response to medium taurine concentration is expressed on both the apical and the basolateral surfaces of both cell lines. The response of MDCK cells to medium osmolality requires protein synthesis and RNA transcription and is expressed in the presence of microtubular toxins. When cell monolayers were loaded with taurine by incubation in high-taurine medium before increasing medium osmolality, the expected increase in taurine uptake was blunted. Similarly, increased external beta-alanine (500 microM) also prevented the anticipated increase in taurine accumulation in response to hypertonicity; aminoisobutyric acid and betaine (500 microM) partially prevented the increase in taurine transport after hypertonicity, whereas L-alanine had no effect. The concentration of taurine or structurally similar analogs in the external medium might modify the response of taurine accumulation after exposure to hypertonic medium, in that taurine-replete cells behave differently than taurine-depleted cells. These studies indicate that there are at least tow distinct mechanisms involved in the regulation of taurine transport: external taurine concentration and medium osmolality, with taurine concentration seeming to be the predominant stimulus.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Dogs
  • Hypertonic Solutions / pharmacology
  • Kidney Tubules, Collecting / metabolism*
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / metabolism*
  • LLC-PK1 Cells
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA / biosynthesis
  • Raffinose / pharmacology
  • Swine
  • Taurine / metabolism*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / pharmacology


  • Amino Acids
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Hypertonic Solutions
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • taurine transporter
  • Taurine
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • RNA
  • Raffinose