Molecular mechanism of dipeptide and drug transport by the human renal H+/oligopeptide cotransporter hPEPT2

Monica Sala-Rabanal, Donald D.F. Loo, Bruce A. Hirayama, Ernest M. Wright

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31 Scopus citations


The human proton/oligopeptide cotransporters hPEPT1 and hPEPT2 have been targeted to enhance the bioavailability of drugs and prodrugs. Previously, we established the mechanisms of drug transport by hPEPT1. Here, we extend these studies to hPEPT2. Major variants hPEPT2*1 and hPEPT2*2 were expressed in Xenopus oocytes, and each was examined using radiotracer uptake and electrophysiological methods. Glycylsarcosine (Gly-Sar); the β-lactam antibiotics ampicillin, amoxicillin, cephalexin, and cefadroxil; and the anti-neoplastics δ-aminolevulinic acid (δ-ALA) and bestatin induced inward currents, indicating that they are transported. Variations in transport rate were due to differences in affinity and in turnover rate: for example, cefadroxil was transported with higher apparent affinity but at a lower maximum velocity than Gly-Sar. Transport rates were highest at pH 5 and decreased significantly as the external pH was increased. Our results strongly suggest that the protein does not operate as a cotransporter in tissues where there is little or no pH gradient, such as choroid plexus, lung, or mammary gland. In the absence of substrates, rapid voltage jumps produced hPEPT2 capacitive currents at pH 7. These transients were significantly reduced at pH 5 but recovered on addition of substrates. The seven-state ordered kinetic model previously proposed for hPEPT1 accounts for the steady-state kinetics of neutral drug and dipeptide transport by hPEPT2. The model also explains the capacitive transients, the striking difference in pre-steady-state behavior between hPEPT2 and hPEPT1, and differences in turnover numbers for Gly-Sar and cefadroxil. No functional differences were found between the common variants hPEPT2*1 and hPEPT2*2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F1422-F1432
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Kinetic model of H/oligopeptide cotransport
  • Polymorphisms
  • hPEPT2 substrates and drugs


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