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1.  Overview of the Proton-coupled MCT (SLC16A) Family of Transporters: Characterization, Function and Role in the Transport of the Drug of Abuse γ-Hydroxybutyric Acid 
The AAPS Journal  2008;10(2):311-321.
The transport of monocarboxylates, such as lactate and pyruvate, is mediated by the SLC16A family of proton-linked membrane transport proteins known as monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs). Fourteen MCT-related genes have been identified in mammals and of these seven MCTs have been functionally characterized. Despite their sequence homology, only MCT1–4 have been demonstrated to be proton-dependent transporters of monocarboxylic acids. MCT6, MCT8 and MCT10 have been demonstrated to transport diuretics, thyroid hormones and aromatic amino acids, respectively. MCT1–4 vary in their regulation, tissue distribution and substrate/inhibitor specificity with MCT1 being the most extensively characterized isoform. Emerging evidence suggests that in addition to endogenous substrates, MCTs are involved in the transport of pharmaceutical agents, including γ-hydroxybuytrate (GHB), 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins), salicylic acid, and bumetanide. MCTs are expressed in a wide range of tissues including the liver, intestine, kidney and brain, and as such they have the potential to impact a number of processes contributing to the disposition of xenobiotic substrates. GHB has been extensively studied as a pharmaceutical substrate of MCTs; the renal clearance of GHB is dose-dependent with saturation of MCT-mediated reabsorption at high doses. Concomitant administration of GHB and l-lactate to rats results in an approximately two-fold increase in GHB renal clearance suggesting that inhibition of MCT1-mediated reabsorption of GHB may be an effective strategy for increasing renal and total GHB elimination in overdose situations. Further studies are required to more clearly define the role of MCTs on drug disposition and the potential for MCT-mediated detoxification strategies in GHB overdose.
doi:10.1208/s12248-008-9035-6
PMCID: PMC2574616  PMID: 18523892
butyrate; gamma-hydroxybutyrate; lactate; monocarboxylate transporters; SLC16A
2.  A Monocarboxylate Permease of Rhizobium leguminosarum Is the First Member of a New Subfamily of Transporters 
Journal of Bacteriology  2002;184(19):5436-5448.
Amino acid transport by Rhizobium leguminosarum is dominated by two ABC transporters, the general amino acid permease (Aap) and the branched-chain amino acid permease (Bra). However, mutation of these transporters does not prevent this organism from utilizing alanine for growth. An R. leguminosarum permease (MctP) has been identified which is required for optimal growth on alanine as a sole carbon and nitrogen source. Characterization of MctP confirmed that it transports alanine (Km = 0.56 mM) and other monocarboxylates such as lactate and pyruvate (Km = 4.4 and 3.8 μM, respectively). Uptake inhibition studies indicate that propionate, butyrate, α-hydroxybutyrate, and acetate are also transported by MctP, with the apparent affinity for solutes demonstrating a preference for C3-monocarboxylates. MctP has significant sequence similarity to members of the sodium/solute symporter family. However, sequence comparisons suggest that it is the first characterized permease of a new subfamily of transporters. While transport via MctP was inhibited by CCCP, it was not apparently affected by the concentration of sodium. In contrast, glutamate uptake in R. leguminosarum by the Escherichia coli GltS system did require sodium, which suggests that MctP may be proton coupled. Uncharacterized members of this new subfamily have been identified in a broad taxonomic range of species, including proteobacteria of the β-subdivision, gram-positive bacteria, and archaea. A two-component sensor-regulator (MctSR), encoded by genes adjacent to mctP, is required for activation of mctP expression.
doi:10.1128/JB.184.19.5436-5448.2002
PMCID: PMC135354  PMID: 12218032
3.  Transport of γ-Hydroxybutyrate in Rat Kidney Membrane Vesicles: Role of Monocarboxylate Transporters 
Intoxication with γ-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is associated with coma, seizure, and death; treatment of overdoses is symptomatic. Previous studies in our laboratory have demonstrated that L-lactate and pyruvate treatment can increase the renal clearance of GHB and increase its elimination in rats, suggesting that GHB may undergo renal reabsorption mediated by monocarboxylic acid transporters (MCTs). The goals of this study were to characterize the renal transport of GHB in rats and to determine the role of MCT in its renal transport. Brush-border membrane (BBM) and basolateral membrane (BLM) vesicles were isolated from rat kidney cortex, and the uptake of L-lactate and GHB was characterized. L-Lactate and GHB undergo both pH- and sodium-dependent transport in BBM vesicles and pH-dependent transport in BLM vesicles. A simple Michaelis-Menten equation best described the pH-dependent uptake of GHB in BBM (Km, 8.0 ± 1.8 mM; Vmax, 838 ± 45 pmol/mg/s) and in BLM vesicles (Km, 10.5 ± 2.6 mM; Vmax, 806 ± 253 pmol/mg/s). mRNA of MCT1 and MCT2 was determined in rat kidney cortex using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction; using Western blot, the protein expression of MCT1 was present mainly in BLM vesicles, with weak expression in BBM vesicles, whereas that of MCT2 was exclusively in BLM vesicles. Studies with rat MCT1 gene-transfected MDA-MB231 cells demonstrated that GHB was a substrate of MCT1. The data suggest that rat MCT1 may represent an important transporter for GHB in renal tubule cells. This investigation provides evidence for the importance of MCTs in the reabsorption of the monocarboxylic acids L-lactate and GHB in the kidney.
doi:10.1124/jpet.106.105965
PMCID: PMC1635030  PMID: 16707723
GHB, γ-hydroxybutyrate; MCT, monocarboxylate transporter; BBM, brush-border membrane; BLM, basolateral membrane; AA, acetoacetate; BHB, β-hydroxybutyrate; BTD, 1,4-butanediol; CHC, α-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamate; DIDS, 4,4′-diisothiocyanatostilbene-2,2′-disulfonic acid disodium salt; TEA, tetraethylammonium; MES, 2-(N-morpholino)ethanesulfonic acid; ALP, alkaline phosphatase; GGT, γ-glutamyl transferase; RT, reverse transcriptase; PCR, polymerase chain reaction; ANOVA, analysis of variance; bp, base pair(s); GBL, γ-butyrolactone
4.  Regulation of Monocarboxylate Transporter 1 (MCT1) Promoter by Butyrate in Human Intestinal Epithelial Cells: Involvement of NF-κB Pathway 
Journal of cellular biochemistry  2008;103(5):1452-1463.
Butyrate, a short chain fatty acid (SCFA) produced by bacterial fermentation of undigested carbohydrates in the colon, constitutes the major fuel for colonocytes. We have earlier shown the role of apically localized monocarboxylate transporter isoform 1 (MCT1) in transport of butyrate into human colonic Caco-2 cells. In an effort to study the regulation of MCT1 gene, we and others have cloned the promoter region of the MCT1 gene and identified cis elements for key transcription factors. A previous study has shown up-regulation of MCT1 expression, and activity by butyrate in AA/C1 human colonic epithelial cells, however, the detailed mechanisms of this up-regulation are not known. In this study, we demonstrate that butyrate, a substrate for MCT1, stimulates MCT1 promoter activity in Caco-2 cells. This effect was dose dependent and specific to butyrate as other predominant SCFAs, acetate, and propionate, were ineffective. Utilizing progressive deletion constructs of the MCT1 promoter, we showed that the putative butyrate responsive elements are in the −229/+91 region of the promoter. Butyrate stimulation of the MCT1 promoter was found to be independent of PKC, PKA, and tyrosine kinases. However, specific inhibitors of the NF-κB pathway, lactacystein (LC), and caffeic acid phenyl ester (CAPE) significantly reduced the MCT1 promoter stimulation by butyrate. Also, butyrate directly stimulated NF-κB-dependent luciferase reporter activity. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA) also stimulated MCT1 promoter activity, however, unlike butyrate, this stimulation was unaltered by the NF-κB inhibitors. Further, the combined effect of butyrate, and TSA on MCT1 promoter activity was additive, indicating that their mechanisms of action were independent. Our results demonstrate the involvement of NF-κB pathway in the regulation of MCT1 promoter activity by butyrate.
doi:10.1002/jcb.21532
PMCID: PMC2673490  PMID: 17786924
short chain fattyacids; Caco-2; HDAC; TSA
5.  Overexpression of Monocarboxylate Transporter-1 (Slc16a1) in Mouse Pancreatic β-Cells Leads to Relative Hyperinsulinism During Exercise 
Diabetes  2012;61(7):1719-1725.
Exercise-induced hyperinsulinism (EIHI) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by inappropriate insulin secretion in response to vigorous physical exercise or pyruvate injection. Activating mutations in the monocarboxylate transporter-1 (MCT1, SLC16A1) promoter have been linked to EIHI. Expression of this pyruvate transporter is specifically repressed (disallowed) in pancreatic β-cells, despite nearly universal expression across other tissues. It has been impossible to determine, however, whether EIHI mutations cause MCT1 expression in patient β-cells. The hypothesis that MCT1 expression in β-cells is sufficient to cause EIHI by allowing entry of pyruvate and triggering insulin secretion thus remains unproven. Therefore, we generated a transgenic mouse capable of doxycycline-induced, β-cell–specific overexpression of MCT1 to test this model directly. MCT1 expression caused isolated islets to secrete insulin in response to pyruvate, without affecting glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. In vivo, transgene induction lowered fasting blood glucose, mimicking EIHI. Pyruvate challenge stimulated increased plasma insulin and smaller excursions in blood glucose in transgenic mice. Finally, in response to exercise, transgene induction prevented the normal inhibition of insulin secretion. Forced overexpression of MCT1 in β-cells thus replicates the key features of EIHI and highlights the importance of this transporter’s absence from these cells for the normal control of insulin secretion.
doi:10.2337/db11-1531
PMCID: PMC3379650  PMID: 22522610
6.  Crucial Residue Involved in L-Lactate Recognition by Human Monocarboxylate Transporter 4 (hMCT4) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67690.
Background
Monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) transport monocarboxylates such as lactate, pyruvate and ketone bodies. These transporters are very attractive therapeutic targets in cancer. Elucidations of the functions and structures of MCTs is necessary for the development of effective medicine which targeting these proteins. However, in comparison with MCT1, there is little information on location of the function moiety of MCT4 and which constituent amino acids govern the transport function of MCT4. The aim of the present work was to determine the molecular mechanism of L-lactate transport via hMCT4.
Experimental approach
Transport of L-lactate via hMCT4 was determined by using hMCT4 cRNA-injected Xenopus laevis oocytes. hMCT4 mediated L-lactate uptake in oocytes was measured in the absence and presence of chemical modification agents and 4,4′-diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2′-disulphonate (DIDS). In addition, L-lactate uptake was measured by hMCT4 arginine mutants. Immunohistochemistry studies revealed the localization of hMCT4.
Results
In hMCT4-expressing oocytes, treatment with phenylglyoxal (PGO), a compound specific for arginine residues, completely abolished the transport activity of hMCT4, although this abolishment was prevented by the presence of L-lactate. On the other hand, chemical modifications except for PGO treatment had no effect on the transport activity of hMCT4. The transporter has six conserved arginine residues, two in the transmembrane-spanning domains (TMDs) and four in the intracellular loops. In hMCT4-R278 mutants, the uptake of L-lactate is void of any transport activity without the alteration of hMCT4 localization.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that Arg-278 in TMD8 is a critical residue involved in substrate, L-lactate recognition by hMCT4.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067690
PMCID: PMC3729688  PMID: 23935841
7.  Modulation of MCT3 Expression during Wound Healing of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium 
MCT3, a specific marker of differentiated RPE, is downregulated after wounding. This report demonstrates for the first time a role for cell-cell contacts in restoring MCT3 expression after injury.
Purpose.
MCT3 is a proton-coupled monocarboxylate transporter preferentially expressed in the basolateral membrane of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and has been shown to play an important role in regulating pH and lactate concentrations in the outer retina. Decreased expression of MCT3 in response to trauma or disease could contribute to pathologic changes in the retina. The present study followed the expression of MCT3 after wounding and re-epithelialization of chick RPE explant and human fetal (hf) RPE cultures.
Methods.
Immunofluorescence microscopy and immunoblotting were performed to determine changes in MCT expression after scratch wounding and re-epithelialization of chick RPE/choroid explant cultures and hfRPE cell monolayers.
Results.
MCT3 expression and basolateral polarity were maintained in chick RPE/choroid explant cultures and hfRPE monolayers. Wounding resulted in loss of MCT3 and the upregulation of MCT4 expression in migrating cells at the edge of the wound. On re-epithelialization, MCT3 was detected in chick and hfRPE cells when cells became hexagonally packed and pigmented. However, in hfRPE cells, MCT4 was consistently expressed throughout the epithelial monolayer. RPE cells at the edges of chick explants and hfRPE cultures with a free edge expressed MCT4 but not MCT3.
Conclusions.
Wounding of RPE monolayers resulted in dedifferentiation of the cells at the edge of the wound, as evidenced by a loss of MCT3 and increased MCT4 expression. Collectively, these findings suggest that both cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions are essential in directing and maintaining differentiation of the RPE and expression of MCT3.
doi:10.1167/iovs.09-5028
PMCID: PMC3066603  PMID: 20505202
8.  Monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) in gliomas: expression and exploitation as therapeutic targets 
Neuro-Oncology  2012;15(2):172-188.
Background
Gliomas exhibit high glycolytic rates, and monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) play a major role in the maintenance of the glycolytic metabolism through the proton-linked transmembrane transport of lactate. However, their role in gliomas is poorly studied. Thus, we aimed to characterize the expression of MCT1, MCT4, and their chaperone CD147 and to assess the therapeutic impact of MCT inhibition in gliomas.
Methods
MCTs and CD147 expressions were characterized by immunohistochemistry in nonneoplastic brain and glioma samples. The effect of CHC (MCT inhibitor) and MCT1 silencing was assessed in in vitro and in vivo glioblastoma models.
Results
MCT1, MCT4, and CD147 were overexpressed in the plasma membrane of glioblastomas, compared with diffuse astrocytomas and nonneoplastic brain. CHC decreased glycolytic metabolism, migration, and invasion and induced cell death in U251 cells (more glycolytic) but only affected proliferation in SW1088 (more oxidative). The effectiveness of CHC in glioma cells appears to be dependent on MCT membrane expression. MCT1 downregulation showed similar effects on different glioma cells, supporting CHC as an MCT1 inhibitor. There was a synergistic effect when combining CHC with temozolomide treatment in U251 cells. In the CAM in vivo model, CHC decreased the size of tumors and the number of blood vessels formed.
Conclusions
This is the most comprehensive study reporting the expression of MCTs and CD147 in gliomas. The MCT1 inhibitor CHC exhibited anti-tumoral and anti-angiogenic activity in gliomas and, of importance, enhanced the effect of temozolomide. Thus, our results suggest that development of therapeutic approaches targeting MCT1 may be a promising strategy in glioblastoma treatment.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/nos298
PMCID: PMC3548586  PMID: 23258846
CD147; CHC; glioblastomas; gliomas; glycolytic metabolism; lactate; monocarboxylate transporters
9.  Prognostic significance of monocarboxylate transporter 4 expression in patients with colorectal cancer 
Cancer cells generally have a high rate of glycolysis and produce larger quantities of lactate as compared to the surrounding normal cells. Monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4) is one of the proton pumps exchanging the lactate through the plasma membrane. The prognostic significance of MCT4 expression has not been evaluated in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). Surgical specimens from 105 CRC patients were immunohistochemically stained using a polyclonal anti-MCT4 antibody. The relationships among the MCT4 expression, clinicopathological factors and prognosis were evaluated. A total of 53 (50.5%) of the 105 patients with CRC were determined to have tumors positive for MCT4 expression. The expression of MCT4 significantly correlated with the tumor size, depth of invasion, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis and TNM staging. The survival rate of the patients who were positive for MCT4 expression was significantly lower than that of patients with negative MCT4 expression. Positive MCT4 expression was a significantly poor prognostic factor, as determined by both univariate and multivariate analyses. Therefore, positive MCT4 expression appears to be a useful marker for tumor progression and prognosis in patients with CRC.
doi:10.3892/etm.2011.361
PMCID: PMC3438655  PMID: 22969839
monocarboxylate transporter; monocarboxylate transporter 4; colorectal cancer
10.  Monocarboxylate Transporter 4 Facilitates Cell Proliferation and Migration and Is Associated with Poor Prognosis in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87904.
Monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4) is a cell membrane transporter of lactate. Recent studies have shown that MCT4 is over-expressed in various cancers; however, its role in cancer maintenance and aggressiveness has not been fully demonstrated. This study investigated the role of MCT4 in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), and found that it is highly expressed in OSCC patients by using immunohistochemistry. Moreover, this over-expression of MCT4 was closely associated with tumor size, TNM classification, lymphatic metastasis, distant metastasis and tumor recurrence, and also poor prognosis. To further study mechanisms of MCT4 in vitro, we used small-interfering RNA to silence its expression in OSCC cell lines. The results showed that knock-down of MCT4 decreased cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. The inhibition of proliferation was associated with down-regulation of p-AKT and p-ERK1/2, while decreased cell migration and invasion may be caused by down-regulation of integrin β4-SRC-FAK and MEK-ERK signaling. Together, these findings provide new insight into the critical role of MCT4 in cell proliferation and metastasis in OSCC.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087904
PMCID: PMC3907573  PMID: 24498219
11.  Identification and Characterization of a Bacterial Transport System for the Uptake of Pyruvate, Propionate, and Acetate in Corynebacterium glutamicum▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;191(3):940-948.
The metabolism of monocarboxylic acids is of central importance for bacteria in their natural habitat as well as during biotechnological production. Although biosynthesis and degradation are well understood, the transport of such compounds is still a matter of discussion. Here we present the identification and characterization of a new transport system in Corynebacterium glutamicum with high affinity for acetate and propionate and with lower affinity for pyruvate. Biochemical analysis of this monocarboxylic acid transporter (MctC) revealed for the first time a quantitative discrimination of passive diffusion and active transport of acetate by bacterial cells. MctC is a secondary transporter and belongs to the class of sodium solute symporters, but it is driven by the electrochemical proton potential. The mctC gene is preceded by and cotranscribed with cg0952, a locus encoding a small membrane protein, and the transcription of the cg0952-mctC operon is under the control of the transcriptional regulators RamA and RamB. Both of these proteins directly bind to the promoter region of the operon; RamA is essential for expression and RamB exerts a slightly negative control on expression of the cg0952-mctC operon. mctC expression is induced in the presence of pyruvate and beneficial under substrate-limiting conditions for C. glutamicum.
doi:10.1128/JB.01155-08
PMCID: PMC2632059  PMID: 19028892
12.  MCT8 expression in human fetal cerebral cortex is reduced in severe intrauterine growth restriction 
The Journal of Endocrinology  2014;220(2):85-95.
The importance of the thyroid hormone (TH) transporter, monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8), to human neurodevelopment is highlighted by findings of severe global neurological impairment in subjects with MCT8 (SLC16A2) mutations. Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), usually due to uteroplacental failure, is associated with milder neurodevelopmental deficits, which have been partly attributed to dysregulated TH action in utero secondary to reduced circulating fetal TH concentrations and decreased cerebral thyroid hormone receptor expression. We postulate that altered MCT8 expression is implicated in this pathophysiology; therefore, in this study, we sought to quantify changes in cortical MCT8 expression with IUGR. First, MCT8 immunohistochemistry was performed on occipital and parietal cerebral cortex sections obtained from appropriately grown for gestational age (AGA) human fetuses between 19 weeks of gestation and term. Secondly, MCT8 immunostaining in the occipital cortex of stillborn IUGR human fetuses at 24–28 weeks of gestation was objectively compared with that in the occipital cortex of gestationally matched AGA fetuses. Fetuses demonstrated widespread MCT8 expression in neurons within the cortical plate and subplate, in the ventricular and subventricular zones, in the epithelium of the choroid plexus and ependyma, and in microvessel wall. When complicated by IUGR, fetuses showed a significant fivefold reduction in the percentage area of cortical plate immunostained for MCT8 compared with AGA fetuses (P<0.05), but there was no significant difference in the proportion of subplate microvessels immunostained. Cortical MCT8 expression was negatively correlated with the severity of IUGR indicated by the brain:liver weight ratios (r2=0.28; P<0.05) at post-mortem. Our results support the hypothesis that a reduction in MCT8 expression in the IUGR fetal brain could further compromise TH-dependent brain development.
doi:10.1530/JOE-13-0400
PMCID: PMC3921694  PMID: 24204008
MCT8; human fetus; CNS; intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
13.  Tumor-stroma metabolic relationship based on lactate shuttle can sustain prostate cancer progression 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:154.
Background
Cancer cell adopts peculiar metabolic strategies aimed to sustain the continuous proliferation in an environment characterized by relevant fluctuations in oxygen and nutrient levels. Monocarboxylate transporters MCT1 and MCT4 can drive such adaptation permitting the transport across plasma membrane of different monocarboxylic acids involved in energy metabolism.
Methods
Role of MCTs in tumor-stroma metabolic relationship was investigated in vitro and in vivo using transformed prostate epithelial cells, carcinoma cell lines and normal fibroblasts. Moreover prostate tissues from carcinoma and benign hypertrophy cases were analyzed for individuating clinical-pathological implications of MCT1 and MCT4 expression.
Results
Transformed prostate epithelial (TPE) and prostate cancer (PCa) cells express both MCT1 and MCT4 and demonstrated variable dependence on aerobic glycolysis for maintaining their proliferative rate. In glucose-restriction the presence of L-lactate determined, after 24 h of treatment, in PCa cells the up-regulation of MCT1 and of cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COX1), and reduced the activation of AMP-activated protein kinase respect to untreated cells. The blockade of MCT1 function, performed by si RNA silencing, determined an appreciable antiproliferative effect when L-lactate was utilized as energetic fuel. Accordingly L-lactate released by high glycolytic human diploid fibroblasts WI-38 sustained survival and growth of TPE and PCa cells in low glucose culture medium. In parallel, the treatment with conditioned medium from PCa cells was sufficient to induce glycolytic metabolism in WI-38 cells, with upregulation of HIF-1a and MCT4. Co-injection of PCa cells with high glycolytic WI-38 fibroblasts determined an impressive increase in tumor growth rate in a xenograft model that was abrogated by MCT1 silencing in PCa cells. The possible interplay based on L-lactate shuttle between tumor and stroma was confirmed also in human PCa tissue where we observed a positive correlation between stromal MCT4 and tumor MCT1 expression.
Conclusions
Our data demonstrated that PCa progression may benefit of MCT1 expression in tumor cells and of MCT4 in tumor-associated stromal cells. Therefore, MCTs may result promising therapeutic targets in different phases of neoplastic transformation according to a strategy aimed to contrast the energy metabolic adaptation of PCa cells to stressful environments.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-154
PMCID: PMC3945608  PMID: 24597899
Aerobic glycolysis; Monocarboxylate transporters; Cancer associated fibroblasts; Warburg effect; Tumor stroma
14.  O2-Filled Swimbladder Employs Monocarboxylate Transporters for the Generation of O2 by Lactate-Induced Root Effect Hemoglobin 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34579.
The swimbladder volume is regulated by O2 transfer between the luminal space and the blood In the swimbladder, lactic acid generation by anaerobic glycolysis in the gas gland epithelial cells and its recycling through the rete mirabile bundles of countercurrent capillaries are essential for local blood acidification and oxygen liberation from hemoglobin by the “Root effect.” While O2 generation is critical for fish flotation, the molecular mechanism of the secretion and recycling of lactic acid in this critical process is not clear. To clarify molecules that are involved in the blood acidification and visualize the route of lactic acid movement, we analyzed the expression of 17 members of the H+/monocarboxylate transporter (MCT) family in the fugu genome and found that only MCT1b and MCT4b are highly expressed in the fugu swimbladder. Electrophysiological analyses demonstrated that MCT1b is a high-affinity lactate transporter whereas MCT4b is a low-affinity/high-conductance lactate transporter. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that (i) MCT4b expresses in gas gland cells together with the glycolytic enzyme GAPDH at high level and mediate lactic acid secretion by gas gland cells, and (ii) MCT1b expresses in arterial, but not venous, capillary endothelial cells in rete mirabile and mediates recycling of lactic acid in the rete mirabile by solute-specific transcellular transport. These results clarified the mechanism of the blood acidification in the swimbladder by spatially organized two lactic acid transporters MCT4b and MCT1b.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034579
PMCID: PMC3319611  PMID: 22496829
15.  Regulation of Mct1 by cAMP-dependent internalization in rat brain endothelial cells 
Brain research  2012;1480:1-11.
In the cerebrovascular endothelium, monocarboxylic acid transporter 1 (Mct1) controls blood-brain transport of short chain monocarboxylic and keto acids, including pyruvate and lactate, to support brain energy metabolism. Mct1 function is acutely decreased in rat brain cerebrovascular endothelial cells by β-adrenergic signaling through cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP); however, the mechanism for this acute reduction in transport capacity is unknown. In this report, we demonstrate that cAMP induces the dephosphorylation and internalization of Mct1 from the plasma membrane into caveolae and early endosomes in the RBE4 rat brain cerebrovascular endothelial cell line. Additionally, we provide evidence that Mct1 constitutively cycles through clathrin vesicles and recycling endosomes in a pathway that is not dependent upon cAMP signaling in these cells. Our results are important because they show for the first time the regulated and unregulated vesicular trafficking of Mct1 in cerebrovascular endothelial cells; processes which have significance for better understanding normal brain energy metabolism, and the etiology and potential therapeutic approaches to treating brain diseases, such as stroke, in which lactic acidosis is a key component
doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2012.08.026
PMCID: PMC3477470  PMID: 22925948
monocarboxylic acid transporter; cerebrovascular endothelium; blood-brain barrier; caveolae; endocytosis; regulation
16.  Tumor metabolism of lactate: the influence and therapeutic potential for MCT and CD147 regulation 
Tumor metabolism consists of complex interactions between oxygenation states, metabolites, ions, the vascular network and signaling cascades. Accumulation of lactate within tumors has been correlated with poor clinical outcomes. While its production has negative implications, potentially contributing to tumor progression, the implications of the ability of tumors to utilize lactate can offer new therapeutic targets for the future. Monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) of the SLC16A gene family influence substrate availability, the metabolic path of lactate and pH balance within the tumor. CD147, a chaperone to some MCT subtypes, contributes to tumor progression and metastasis. The implications and consequences of lactate utilization by tumors are currently unknown; therefore future research is needed on the intricacies of tumor metabolism. The possibility of metabolic modification of the tumor microenvironment via regulation or manipulation of MCT1 and CD147 may prove to be promising avenues of therapeutic options.
doi:10.2217/fon.09.145
PMCID: PMC2819205  PMID: 20021214
Cancer; CD147; lactate; MCT1; MCT1 inhibitors; MCT4; tumor metabolism
17.  Resistance to Diet-Induced Obesity and Associated Metabolic Perturbations in Haploinsufficient Monocarboxylate Transporter 1 Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82505.
The monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1 or SLC16A1) is a carrier of short-chain fatty acids, ketone bodies, and lactate in several tissues. Genetically modified C57BL/6J mice were produced by targeted disruption of the mct1 gene in order to understand the role of this transporter in energy homeostasis. Null mutation was embryonically lethal, but MCT1+/− mice developed normally. However, when fed high fat diet (HFD), MCT1+/− mice displayed resistance to development of diet-induced obesity (24.8% lower body weight after 16 weeks of HFD), as well as less insulin resistance and no hepatic steatosis as compared to littermate MCT1+/+ mice used as controls. Body composition analysis revealed that reduced weight gain in MCT1+/− mice was due to decreased fat accumulation (50.0% less after 9 months of HFD) notably in liver and white adipose tissue. This phenotype was associated with reduced food intake under HFD (12.3% less over 10 weeks) and decreased intestinal energy absorption (9.6% higher stool energy content). Indirect calorimetry measurements showed ∼ 15% increase in O2 consumption and CO2 production during the resting phase, without any changes in physical activity. Determination of plasma concentrations for various metabolites and hormones did not reveal significant changes in lactate and ketone bodies levels between the two genotypes, but both insulin and leptin levels, which were elevated in MCT1+/+ mice when fed HFD, were reduced in MCT1+/− mice under HFD. Interestingly, the enhancement in expression of several genes involved in lipid metabolism in the liver of MCT1+/+ mice under high fat diet was prevented in the liver of MCT1+/− mice under the same diet, thus likely contributing to the observed phenotype. These findings uncover the critical role of MCT1 in the regulation of energy balance when animals are exposed to an obesogenic diet.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082505
PMCID: PMC3867350  PMID: 24367518
18.  Evidence for the Mitochondrial Lactate Oxidation Complex in Rat Neurons: Demonstration of an Essential Component of Brain Lactate Shuttles 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(8):e2915.
To evaluate the presence of components of a putative Intracellular Lactate Shuttle (ILS) in neurons, we attempted to determine if monocarboxylate (e.g. lactate) transporter isoforms (MCT1 and -2) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) are coexpressed in neuronal mitochondria of rat brains. Immunohistochemical analyses of rat brain cross-sections showed MCT1, MCT2, and LDH to colocalize with the mitochondrial inner membrane marker cytochrome oxidase (COX) in cortical, hippocampal, and thalamic neurons. Immunoblotting after immunoprecipitation (IP) of mitochondria from brain homogenates supported the histochemical observations by demonstrating that COX coprecipitated MCT1, MCT2, and LDH. Additionally, using primary cultures from rat cortex and hippocampus as well as immunohistochemistry and immunocoprecipitation techniques, we demonstrated that MCT2 and LDH are coexpressed in mitochondria of cultured neurons. These findings can be interpreted to mean that, as in skeletal muscle, neurons contain a mitochondrial lactate oxidation complex (mLOC) that has the potential to facilitate both intracellular and cell-cell lactate shuttles in brain.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002915
PMCID: PMC2488371  PMID: 18698340
19.  Bicarbonate, NBCe1, NHE, and Carbonic Anhydrase Activity Enhance Lactate-H+ Transport in Bovine Corneal Endothelium 
Lactate-proton cotransport via MCT1, -2, and -4 is present in corneal endothelium. Lactate-dependent proton flux can activate Na+/H+ exchange and is facilitated by maximizing intracellular buffering capacity through the presence of HCO3−, HCO3− transport, NHE, and CA activity.
Purpose.
To identify and localize the monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) expressed in bovine corneal endothelial cells (BCEC) and to test the hypothesis that buffering contributed by HCO3−, sodium bicarbonate cotransporter (NBCe1), sodium hydrogen exchanger (NHE), and carbonic anhydrase (CA) activity facilitates lactate flux.
Methods.
MCT1–4 expression was screened by RT-PCR, Western blot analysis, and immunofluorescence. Endogenous lactate efflux and/or pHi were measured in BCEC in HCO3−-free or HCO3−-rich Ringer, with and without niflumic acid (MCT inhibitor), acetazolamide (ACTZ, a CA inhibitor), 5-(N-Ethyl-N-isopropyl)amiloride (EIPA) (Na+/H+ exchange blocker), disodium 4,4′-diisothiocyanatostilbene-2,2′-disulfonate (DIDS; anion transport inhibitor), or with NBCe1-specific small interfering (si) RNA-treated cells.
Results.
MCT1, 2, and 4 are expressed in BCEC. MCT1 was localized to the lateral membrane, MCT2 was lateral and apical, while MCT4 was apical. pHi measurements showed significant lactate-induced cell acidification (LIA) in response to 20-second pulses of lactate. Incubation with niflumic acid significantly reduced the rate of pHi change (dpHi/dt) and lactate-induced cell acidification. EIPA inhibited alkalinization after lactate removal. Lactate-dependent proton flux was significantly greater in the presence of HCO3− but was reduced by ACTZ. Efflux of endogenously produced lactate was significantly faster in the presence of HCO3−, was greater on the apical surface, was reduced on the apical side by ACTZ, as well as on the apical and basolateral side by NBCe1-specific siRNA, DIDS, or EIPA.
Conclusions.
MCT1, 2, and 4 are expressed in BCEC on both the apical and basolateral membrane (BL) surfaces consistent with niflumic acid-sensitive lactate-H+ transport. Lactate dependent proton flux can activate Na+/H+ exchange and be facilitated by maximizing intracellular buffering capacity through the presence of HCO3−, HCO3− transport, NHE and CA activity.
doi:10.1167/iovs.11-8086
PMCID: PMC3208007  PMID: 21896839
20.  Insights into molecular properties of the human monocarboxylate transporter 8 by combining functional with structural information 
Thyroid Research  2011;4(Suppl 1):S4.
Background
The monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8) is a member of the major facilitator superfamily (MFS) and transports specificly iodothyronines. MCT8 mutations are the underlying cause of a syndrome of severe X-linked psychomotor retardation known as the Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by abnormally high T3, low/normal T4 serum levels and slightly elevated serum TSH. To date, more than 25 pathogenic mutations in hMCT8 are known and they are valuable indicators of important regions for structural and functional MCT8 properties.
Methods
We designed a structural human MCT8 model and studied reported pathogenic missense mutations with focus on the estimation of those amino acid positions which are probably sensitive for substrate transport. Furthermore, assuming similarities between determinants of T3 binding observed in the published crystal structure of the thyroid hormone receptor beta occupied by its ligand T3 and the structural MCT8 model, we explore potential T3 binding sites in the MCT8 substrate channel cavity.
Results
We found that all known pathogenic missense mutations are located exclusively in the transmembrane helices and to a high degree at conserved residues among the MCT family. Furthermore, mutations either of or to prolines/glycines are located mainly at helices 9-12 and are expected to cause steric clashes or structural misfolding. In contrast, several other mutations are close to the potential substrate channel and affected amino acids are likely involved in the switching mechanism between different transporter conformations. Finally, three potential substrate binding sites are predicted for MCT8.
Conclusions
Naturally occurring mutations of MCT8 provide molecular insights into protein regions important for protein folding, substrate binding and the switching mechanism during substrate transport. Future studies guided by this information should help to clarify structure-function relationships at MCT8 which may bear broader relevance for other members of the MCT family. This includes decoding of the complete set of transport-sensitive residue positions and description of structural re-arrangements during transport.
doi:10.1186/1756-6614-4-S1-S4
PMCID: PMC3155110  PMID: 21835051
21.  Lactate shuttles at a glance: from physiological paradigms to anti-cancer treatments 
Disease Models & Mechanisms  2011;4(6):727-732.
Hypoxia and oncogene expression both stimulate glycolytic metabolism in tumors, thereby leading to lactate production. However, lactate is more than merely a by-product of glycolysis: it can be used as a metabolic fuel by oxidative cancer cells. This phenomenon resembles processes that have been described for skeletal muscle and brain that involve what are known as cell-cell and intracellular lactate shuttles. Two control points regulate lactate shuttles: the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)-dependent conversion of lactate into pyruvate (and back), and the transport of lactate into and out of cells through specific monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs). In tumors, MCT4 is largely involved in hypoxia-driven lactate release, whereas the uptake of lactate into both tumor cells and tumor endothelial cells occurs via MCT1. Translating knowledge of lactate shuttles to the cancer field offers new perspectives to therapeutically target the hypoxic tumor microenvironment and to tackle tumor angiogenesis.
doi:10.1242/dmm.007724
PMCID: PMC3209642  PMID: 22065843
22.  Altered Expression of Brain Monocarboxylate Transporter 1 in Models of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy 
Neurobiology of Disease  2011;45(1):165-176.
Monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1) facilitates the transport of monocarboxylate fuels (lactate, pyruvate and ketone bodies) and acidic drugs, such as valproic acid, across cell membranes. We recently reported that MCT1 is deficient on microvessels in the epileptogenic hippocampal formation in patients with medication-refractory temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). To further define the role of MCT1 in the pathophysiology of TLE, we used immunohistochemistry and stereological analysis to localize and quantify the transporter in the hippocampal formation in three novel and highly relevant rat models of TLE and in nonepileptic control animals. One model utilizes methionine sulfoximine to induce brain glutamine synthetase deficiency and recurrent limbic seizures, while two models employ an episode of perforant pathway stimulation to cause epilepsy. MCT1 was lost on microvessels and upregulated on astrocytes in the hippocampal formation in all models of TLE. Notably, the loss of MCT1 on microvessels was not due to a reduction in microvessel density. The similarities in MCT1 expression among human subjects with TLE and several animal models of the disease strongly suggest a critical role of this molecule in the pathogenesis of TLE. We hypothesize that the downregulation of MCT1 may promote seizures via impaired uptake of ketone bodies and antiepileptic drugs by the epileptogenic brain. We also propose that the overexpression of MCT1 on astrocytes may lead to increased uptake or release of monocarboxylates by these cells, with important implications for brain metabolism and excitability. These hypotheses can now be rigorously tested in several animal models that replicate key features of human TLE.
doi:10.1016/j.nbd.2011.08.001
PMCID: PMC3351090  PMID: 21856423
animal models; blood-brain barrier; glutamine synthetase; hippocampal sclerosis; ketone bodies; ketogenic diet
23.  Basolateral sorting signals regulating tissue-specific polarity of heteromeric monocarboxylate transporters in epithelia 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2011;12(4):483-498.
Many solute transporters are heterodimers comprised of non-glycosylated catalytic and glycosylated accessory subunits. These transporters are specifically polarized to the apical or basolateral membranes of epithelia but this polarity may vary to fulfill tissue-specific functions. To date, the mechanisms regulating the tissue-specific polarity of heteromeric transporters remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated the sorting signals that determine the polarity of three members of the proton-coupled monocarboxylate transporter (MCT) family, MCT1, MCT3 and MCT4, and their accessory subunit CD147. We show that MCT3 and MCT4 harbor strong redundant basolateral sorting signals (BLSS) in their C-terminal cytoplasmic tails that can direct fusion proteins with the apical marker p75 to the basolateral membrane. In contrast, MCT1 lacks a BLSS and its polarity is dictated by CD147, which contains a weak BLSS that can direct Tac, but not p75 to the basolateral membrane. Knockdown experiments in MDCK cells indicated that basolateral sorting of MCTs was clathrin-dependent but clathrin adaptor AP1B-independent. Our results explain the consistently basolateral localization of MCT3 and MCT4 and the variable localization of MCT1 in different epithelia. They introduce a new paradigm for the sorting of heterodimeric transporters in which a hierarchy of apical and basolateral sorting signals in the catalytic and/or accessory subunits regulates their tissue-specific polarity.
doi:10.1111/j.1600-0854.2010.01155.x
PMCID: PMC3132080  PMID: 21199217
basolateral sorting signal; monocarboxylate transporter; CD147; MDCK; retinal pigment epithelium
24.  Tissue distribution of basigin and monocarboxylate transporter 1 in the adult male mouse: a study using the wild type and basigin gene knockout mice 
Basigin (Bsg) is a transmembrane protein that is responsible for targeting of monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) to the cell membrane. The present study was conducted to determine whether or not Bsg was required for the proper localization of MCT isoform 1 (MCT1) in a wide rage of tissues in adult male mice. The tissue distributions of Bsg and MCT1 in wild type (WT) mice, the tissue distribution of MCT1 in Bsg gene knockout (Bsg-KO) mice, and the protein and mRNA levels of MCT1 in both genotypes were studied. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that Bsg colocalized with MCT1 in the cerebrum, retina, skeletal and cardiac muscle, duodenal epithelium, hepatic sinusoid, proximal uriniferous tubules, Leydig cells and efferent ductule epithelium in WT mice. Bsg was absent but MCT1 was present in Sertoli cells, cauda epididymis, myoepithelial cells and duct of the mandibular gland, surface epithelium of the stomach and bronchioles. In Bsg-KO mice, with the exception of Leydig cells, MCT1 immunostaining was greatly reduced in intensity and its distribution was altered in tissues that expressed both Bsg and MCT1 in WT mice. Levels of the protein and mRNA for MCT1 in these tissues did not change significantly in Bsg-KO mice. On the other hand, immunostaining patterns in cells in which Bsg was absent but MCT1 was present in WT mice remained unchanged in Bsg-KO mice. These observations suggest that Bsg is required for the proper localization of MCT1 in a wide range of cells but not in every cell type.
doi:10.1002/ar.a.20320
PMCID: PMC3739424  PMID: 16612830
Basigin; monocarboxylate transporter 1; mouse; gene knockout; immunohistochemistry; Western blotting; real time PCR
25.  MCT Expression and Lactate Influx/Efflux in Tanycytes Involved in Glia-Neuron Metabolic Interaction 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16411.
Metabolic interaction via lactate between glial cells and neurons has been proposed as one of the mechanisms involved in hypothalamic glucosensing. We have postulated that hypothalamic glial cells, also known as tanycytes, produce lactate by glycolytic metabolism of glucose. Transfer of lactate to neighboring neurons stimulates ATP synthesis and thus contributes to their activation. Because destruction of third ventricle (III-V) tanycytes is sufficient to alter blood glucose levels and food intake in rats, it is hypothesized that tanycytes are involved in the hypothalamic glucose sensing mechanism. Here, we demonstrate the presence and function of monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) in tanycytes. Specifically, MCT1 and MCT4 expression as well as their distribution were analyzed in Sprague Dawley rat brain, and we demonstrate that both transporters are expressed in tanycytes. Using primary tanycyte cultures, kinetic analyses and sensitivity to inhibitors were undertaken to confirm that MCT1 and MCT4 were functional for lactate influx. Additionally, physiological concentrations of glucose induced lactate efflux in cultured tanycytes, which was inhibited by classical MCT inhibitors. Because the expression of both MCT1 and MCT4 has been linked to lactate efflux, we propose that tanycytes participate in glucose sensing based on a metabolic interaction with neurons of the arcuate nucleus, which are stimulated by lactate released from MCT1 and MCT4-expressing tanycytes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016411
PMCID: PMC3030577  PMID: 21297988

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