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The tryptophan (Trp) transport system has a high affinity and selectivity toward Trp, and has been reported to exist in both human and mouse macrophages. Although this system is highly expressed in interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-treated cells and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1)-expressing cells, its identity remains incompletely understood. Tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase (TrpRS) is also highly expressed in IFN-γ-treated cells and also has high affinity and selectivity for Trp. Here, we investigated the effects of human TrpRS expression on Trp uptake into IFN-γ-treated human THP-1 monocytes or HeLa cells. Inhibition of human TrpRS expression by TrpRS-specific siRNAs decreased and overexpression of TrpRS increased Trp uptake into the cells. Of note, the TrpRS-mediated uptake system had more than hundred-fold higher affinity for Trp than the known System L amino acid transporter, promoted uptake of low Trp concentrations, and had very high Trp selectivity. Moreover, site-directed mutagenesis experiments indicated that Trp- and ATP-binding sites, but not tRNA-binding sites, in TrpRS are essential for TrpRS-mediated Trp uptake into the human cells. We further demonstrate that the addition of purified TrpRS to cell culture medium increases Trp uptake into cells. Taken together, our results reveal that TrpRS plays an important role in high-affinity Trp uptake into human cells. © 2018 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Miki Miyanokoshi, Takumi Yokosawa, Keisuke Wakasugi. Tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase mediates high-affinity tryptophan uptake into human cells. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2018 Jun 01;293(22):8428-8438

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PMID: 29666190

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