ABSTRACT: Recently, this laboratory identified a proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT), with optimal activity at low pH. PCFT is critical to intestinal folate absorption and transport into the central nervous system because there are loss-of-function mutations in this gene in the autosomal recessive disorder, hereditary folate malabsorption. The current study addresses the role PCFT might play in another transport pathway, folate receptor (FR)-mediated endocytosis. FRalpha cDNA was transfected into novel PCFT(+) and PCFT(-) HeLa sublines. FRalpha was shown to bind and trap folates in vesicles but with minimal export into the cytosol in PCFT(-) cells. Cotransfection of FRalpha and PCFT resulted in enhanced folate transport into cytosol as compared with transfection of FRalpha alone. Probenecid did not inhibit folate binding to FR, but inhibited PCFT-mediated transport at endosomal pH, and blocked FRalpha-mediated transport into the cytosol. FRalpha and PCFT co-localized to the endosomal compartment. These observations (i) indicate that PCFT plays a role in FRalpha-mediated endocytosis by serving as a route of export of folates from acidified endosomes and (ii) provide a functional role for PCFT in tissues in which it is expressed, such as the choroid plexus, where the extracellular milieu is at neutral pH.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2009; 284(7):4267-74. · 4.77 Impact Factor