The effect of phorbol esters on the transport of amino acids has been evaluated in cultured human fibroblasts. The activity of the Na(+)-dependent system XAG- for anionic amino acids is selectively and markedly stimulated by phorbol esters. The effect is maximal within 15 min; it is attributable to an increase in transport maximum (Vmax) and not prevented by inhibitors of protein synthesis. The half-maximal stimulation is observed at concentrations of phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate lower than 100 nM. Prolonged incubations in the presence of 1 microM phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate lower the binding of the ligand to its receptor with a loss of the stimulatory effect on transport. The results presented indicate that the stimulation of amino acid transport through system XAG- by phorbol esters requires the activation of protein kinase C.
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