L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1)/SLC7A5 is the first identified CD98 light chain disulfide linked to the CD98 heavy chain (CD98hc/SLC3A2). LAT1 transports large neutral amino acids, including leucine, which activates mTOR, and is highly expressed in human cancers. We investigated the oncogenicity of human LAT1 introduced to NIH/3T3 cells by retrovirus infection. NIH/3T3 cell lines stably expressing human native (164C) or mutant (164S) LAT1 (naLAT1/3T3 or muLAT1/3T3, respectively) were established. We confirmed that endogenous mouse CD98hc forms a disulfide bond with exogenous human LAT1 in naLAT1/3T3, but not in muLAT1/3T3. Endogenous mouse CD98hc mRNA increased in both naNIH/3T3 and muLAT1/3T3, and a similar amount of exogenous human LAT1 protein was detected in both cell lines. Furthermore, naLAT1/3T3 and muLAT1/3T3 cell lines were evaluated for cell growth-related phenotypes (phosphorylation of ERK, cell-cycle progression) and cell malignancy-related phenotypes (anchorage-independent cell growth, tumor formation in nude mice). naLAT1/3T3 had stronger growth- and malignancy- related phenotypes than NIH/3T3 and muLAT1/3T3, suggesting the oncogenicity of native LAT1 through its interaction with CD98hc. Anti-LAT1 monoclonal antibodies significantly inhibited in vitro cell proliferation and in vivo tumor growth of naLAT1/3T3 cells in nude mice, demonstrating LAT1 to be a promising anti-cancer target.
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