▪ Abstract 

The discovery of the function of the receptor for the ecotropic retrovirus as a membrane transporter for the essential amino acids lysine and arginine was a landmark finding in the field of molecular nutrition. This finding indicated that cationic amino acid transporters (CATs) act pathologically as viral receptors. The importance of this transporter was further supported by knockout mice that were not viable after birth. CAT-1 was the first amino acid transporter to be cloned; several other CATs were later characterized biochemically and molecularly. These transporters mediate the bidirectional transport of cationic amino acids, thus supporting important metabolic functions, such as synthesis of proteins, nitric oxide (NO) synthesis, polyamine biosynthesis, and interorgan amino acid flow. This review briefly describes the advances in the regulation of cationic amino acid transport, focusing on the molecular mechanisms that regulate the CAT-1 transporter. Of particular interest to this review is the regulation of CAT-1 by nutritional stresses, such as amino acid availability. The studies that are reviewed conclude that the CAT-1 gene is essential for cell survival during stress because it allows cells to resume growth as soon as amino acids become available.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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