Graham, C., Gatherar, I., Haslam, Iain S., Glanville, M. and Simmons, N.L. (2007) Expression and localization of monocarboxylate transporters and sodium/proton exchangers in bovine rumen epithelium. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 292 (2). R997-R1007. ISSN 0363-6119

Monocarboxylate-H+ cotransporters, such as monocarboxylate transporter (MCT) SLC16A, have been suggested to mediate transruminal fluxes of short-chain fatty acids, ketone bodies, and lactate. Using an RT-PCR approach, we demonstrate expression of MCT1 (SLC16A1) and MCT2 (SLC16A7) mRNA in isolated bovine rumen epithelium. cDNA sequence from these PCR products combined with overlapping expressed sequence tag data allowed compilation of the complete open reading frames for MCT1 and MCT2. Immunohistochemical localization of MCT1 shows plasma membrane staining in cells of the stratum basale, with intense staining of the basal aspects of the cells. Immunostaining decreased in the cell layers toward the rumen lumen, with weak staining in the stratum spinsoum. Immunostaining in the stratum granulosum and stratum corneum was essentially negative. Since monocarboxylate transport will load the cytosol with acid, expression and location of Na+/H+ exchanger (NHE) family members within the rumen epithelium were determined. RT-PCR demonstrates expression of multiple NHE family members, including NHE1, NHE2, NHE3, and NHE8. In contrast to MCT1, immunostaining showed that NHE1 was predominantly localized to the stratum granulosum, with a progressive decrease toward the stratum basale. NHE2 immunostaining was observed mainly at an intracellular location in the stratum basale, stratum spinosum, and stratum granulosum. Given the anatomic localization of MCT1, NHE1, and NHE2, the mechanism of transruminal short-chain fatty acid, ketone body, and lactate transfer is discussed in relation to a functional model of the rumen epithelium comprising an apical permeability barrier at the stratum granulosum, with a cell syncitium linking the stratum granulosum to the blood-facing stratum basale.

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