The transport of L-alanine, L-serine, and L-cysteine has been studied in skin-derived diploid human fibroblasts in culture. Competition analysis, mathematical discrimination by nonlinear regression, and conditions varying the relative contribution of the various mediations have been used to characterize the systems engaged in the inward transport of these amino acids. All the adopted criteria yielded results showing that L-alanine, L-serine, and L-cysteine enter the cell by two Na+-dependent systems, System A and System ASC, and by a Na+-independent route, whose major component has been identified as System L. The apparent affinity of L-alanine, L-serine, and L-cysteine for the putative carrier was higher for System ASC than for System A. The transport Vmax for System A increased in response to cell starvation; after 12 h, its values were similar or higher than those exhibited by System ASC. At amino acid concentrations approaching those present in human plasma, System ASC appeared to be the primary mediation for the inward transport of L-alanine, L-serine, and L-cysteine in human fibroblasts. The contribution of System A was negligible in nonstarved cells and became appreciable under conditions of cell starvation. The Na+-independent System L made no substantial contribution to the uptake of L-alanine and L-serine and accounted for approximately one-fourth of the total uptake of L-cysteine.
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