Mechanism and regulation of folate uptake by human pancreatic epithelial MIA PaCa-2 cells

Svetlana M. Nabokina, Thomas Y. Ma, Hamid M. Said

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17 Scopus citations


After the liver, the pancreas contains the second highest level of folate among human tissues, and folate deficiency adversely affects its physiological function. Despite that, nothing is currently known about the cellular mechanisms involved in folate uptake by cells of this important exocrine organ or about folate uptake regulation. We have begun to address these issues, and in this report we present the results of our findings on the mechanism of folate uptake by the human-derived pancreatic MIA PaCa-2 cells. Our results show folic acid uptake to be 1) temperature and energy dependent; 2) pH dependent, with a markedly higher uptake at acidic pH compared with neutral or alkaline pH; 3) Na+ independent; 4) saturable as a function of substrate concentration (apparent Km = 0.762 ± 0.10 μM); 5) inhibited (with similar affinity) by reduced, substituted, and oxidized folate derivatives; and 6) sensitive to the inhibitory effect of anion transport inhibitors. RT-PCR and Western blot analysis showed expression of the human reduced folate carrier (hRFC) at the RNA and protein levels, respectively. The functional contribution of hRFC in carrier-mediated folate uptake was confirmed by gene silencing using gene-specific small interfering RNA. Evidence also was found suggesting that the folate uptake process by MIA PaCa-2 cells is regulated by cAMP- and protein tyrosine kinase (PTK)-mediated pathways. These studies demonstrate for the first time the involvement of a specialized, acidic pH-dependent, carrier-mediated mechanism for folate uptake by human pancreatic MIA PaCa-2 cells. The results also show the involvement of hRFC in the uptake process and suggest the possible involvement of intracellular cAMP- and PTK-mediated pathways in the regulation of folate uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C142-C148
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number1 56-1
StatePublished - Jul 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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