All cell functions ultimately depend on the regulated movement of chemicals across the plasma membrane. Although recent studies have described some of the genes involved in these transport processes, it is clear that many other essential gene products remain to be identified and characterized. Using a comparative approach, we recently cloned and functionally characterized a new type of organic solute and steroid transporter (OST) from skate, mouse, and human genomes. This transporter is generated by co-expression of two unique gene products, organic solute transporter-alpha and -beta (OSTalpha, OSTbeta). In contrast with most other transporters that are members of gene families, OSTalpha and OSTbeta do not have homologues in the mouse or human genomes. Moreover, these genes are evolutionary conserved and are able to functionally complement each other across species. Preliminary characterization of the transport function and cellular localization of the proteins suggests that OSTalpha-OSTbeta is a critical regulator of the reabsorption of bile acids and other steroids in the intestine, kidney, and other epithelial tissues. Transported substrates include estrone 3-sulfate, dehydroepiandrosterone 3-sulfate, taurocholate, digoxin, and prostaglandin E2, indicating a role in the disposition of key cellular metabolites or signaling molecules. These preliminary studies are consistent with the hypothesis that OSTalpha-OSTbetaa is a heteromeric transporter that is localized to the basolateral membrane of key epithelial tissues, and serves to regulate the disposition of steroid-derived molecules. To test this hypothesis the proposed studies aim to: (1) Define the tissue expression, and cellular and sub-cellular distribution of OSTalpha and OSTbeta, (2) Generate and functionally characterize Osta knockout mice, (3) Examine whether OSTalpha and OSTbeta are forming heterodimers or heteromultimers, and (4) Identify the regions of the OSTalpha and OSTbeta proteins that are critical for plasma membrane delivery and/or functional expression of transport activity. Overall, these studies should provide fundamental information on the mechanisms by which this novel transporter regulates bile acid and steroid homeostasis in mammals.

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National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
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Xenobiotic and Nutrient Disposition and Action Study Section (XNDA)
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May, Michael K
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University of Rochester
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Dentistry
United States
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Christian, Whitney V; Hinkle, Patricia M (2017) Global functions of extracellular, transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of organic solute transporter ?-subunit. Biochem J 474:1981-1992
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