Background and Aims: Recently, we isolated a new complementary DNA (cDNA) encoding human liver-specific organic anion transporter (LST-1), representing the multispecificity of human liver. The aim of this study was to isolate a rat counterpart of human LST-1 and examine the expression regulation of its messenger RNA (mRNA) to clarify the molecular basis of cholestasis. Methods: A rat liver cDNA library was screened with human LST-1 cDNA as a probe. Xenopus oocyte expression system was used for functional analysis. Northern blot analyses were performed using the isolated cDNA (termed rlst-1). The bile duct ligation model and the cecum ligation and puncture model were used for expression analyses. Results: rlst-1 encodes 652 amino acids, predicting at least 11 transmembrane regions. The overall homology with human LST-1 was 60.2%, which is the highest among all known organic anion transporters, rlst-1 also belongs to the same new gene family as human LST-1, located between the organic anion transporter family and the prostaglandin transporter, rlst-1 preferably transports taurocholate (K(m), 9.45 μmol/L) in an Na+-independent manner. The rlst-1 mRNA is exclusively expressed in the liver. In both the bile duct ligation model and the cecum ligation and puncture model, mRNA expression levels of rlst-1 were down- regulated. Conclusions: rlst-1 is a counterpart of human LST-1 and is one of the important transporters in rat liver for the clearance of bile acid. The expression of rlst-1 may be under feedback regulation of cholestasis by biliary obstruction and/or sepsis.
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