Functional expression of intestinal dipeptide/β-lactam antibiotic transporter in Xenopus laevis oocytes

Ikumi Tamai, Naoko Tomizawa, Atsushi Kadowiki, Tetsuya Terasaki, Kozo Nakayama, Haruhiro Higashida, Akira Tsuji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


An intestinal active transport system specific to small peptides and peptide-like drugs such as β-lactam antiobiotics was functionally expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes after microinjection of messenger RNA (mRNA) derived from rat intestinal cells. The transport activity was evaluated by measuring the uptake of a tripeptide-like cephalosporin antibiotic, ceftibuten, which has high affinity for the intestinal peptide/H+ co-transporter and is resittant to peptidases. Ceftibuten transport in mRNA-injected oocytes was pH dependent (a proton gradient is the driving force), stereo selective (uptake of the cis-isomer of ceftibuten was about 4-fold higher than that of the trans-isomer), saturable and temperature dependent. Furthermore, various dipeptides showed cis-inhibitory and trans-stimulatory effects on the uptake of ceftibuten by mRNA-injected oocytes, suggesting that ceftibuten and dipeptides are transported by a common carrier protein. These results are in accordance with the functional properties of native proton-coupled peptide transporter previously clarified by studies with isolated intestinal brush-border membrane vesicles and other experimental systems. A protein with a molecular mass of about 130 kDa expressed in the membrane of mRNA-injected oocytes was identified as the transport protein by specific labeling with a photoreactive β-lactam antibiotic, [3h]benxylpenicillin, followed by SDS-PAGE analysis of the radiolabeled protein. Furthermore, an experiment with mRNA size-fractionated by sucrose density gradient centrifugation indicated that the peptide transporter is encoded by mRNA of between 1.8 and 3.6 kb. These results, obtained using a heterologous gene expression technique, confirm that intestinal absorption of β-lactam antibiotics occurs through a carrier-mediated mechanism and show that biologically stable β-lactam antibiotics can be useful probes for molecular analysis of intestinal peptide transporter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-888
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1994 Aug 30


  • ceftibuten
  • cephalosporin
  • gene expression
  • intestinal absorption
  • intestinal uptake
  • proton-coupled transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology

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