Expression of Na+-dependent citrate transport in a strongly metastatic human prostate cancer PC-3M cell line: regulation by voltage-gated Na+ channel activity

M E Mycielska, C P Palmer, W J Brackenbury, M B A Djamgoz

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Prostate is a unique organ which synthesizes and releases large amounts of citrate. It has been shown that in metastatic prostate cancer, the amount of citrate in prostatic fluid is significantly reduced, approaching the level normally found in blood. In our previous study, we characterized electrophysiologically the mechanism of citrate transport in a normal prostatic epithelial (PNT2-C2) cell line. It was concluded that the cells expressed a novel transporter carrying I citrate(3-) together with 4 K+, primarily out of cells. In the present study, we aimed similarly to characterize the mechanism(s) of citrate transport in a strongly metastatic human prostate cancer (PC-3M) cell line and to compare this with the previous data. Citrate transport in PC-3M cells was found to be both Na+ and K+ dependent. Intracellular application of citrate produced an outward current that was primarily K+ dependent whilst extracellular citrate elicited an inward current that was mainly Na+ dependent. The electrophysiological and pharmacological characteristics of the citrate outward current were similar to the K+-dependent citrate transporter found in the PNT2-C2 cells. On the other hand, the inward citrate current had a markedly different reversal potential, ionic characteristics, inhibitor profile and pH sensitivity. Preincubation of the PC-3M cells (24 or 48 h) with the voltage-gated Na+ channel (VGSC) blocker tetrodotoxin (TTX) significantly reduced the Na+ sensitivity of the citrate current, up-regulated VGSC mRNA expression but did not change the partial permeability of the membrane to Na+. It was concluded (a) that PC-3M cells express a K+-dependent transporter (carrying citrate outward), similar to that found in normal prostate epithelial cells, as well as (b) a Na+-dependent transporter (carrying citrate inward). The molecular nature of the latter was investigated by RT-PCR; the three known Na+-dependent citrate/dicarboxylate transporters could not be detected. VGSC activity, which itself has been associated with metastatic prostate cancer, had a differential effect on the two citrate transporters, down-regulating the expression of the Na+-dependent component whilst enhancing the K+-dependent citrate transporter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-408
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2005


  • RAT
  • SLC5A8

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