Lawrence Steinman

Publication Details

  • Nanosensor detection of an immunoregulatory tryptophan influx/kynurenine efflux cycle PLOS BIOLOGY Kaper, T., Looger, L. L., Takanaga, H., Platten, M., Steinman, L., Frommer, W. B. 2007; 5 (10): 2201-2210

    Abstract:

    Mammalian cells rely on cellular uptake of the essential amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan sequestration by up-regulation of the key enzyme for tryptophan degradation, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), e.g., in cancer and inflammation, is thought to suppress the immune response via T cell starvation. Additionally, the excreted tryptophan catabolites (kynurenines) induce apoptosis of lymphocytes. Whereas tryptophan transport systems have been identified, the molecular nature of kynurenine export remains unknown. To measure cytosolic tryptophan steady-state levels and flux in real time, we developed genetically encoded fluorescence resonance energy transfer nanosensors (FLIPW). The transport properties detected by FLIPW in KB cells, a human oral cancer cell line, and COS-7 cells implicate LAT1, a transporter that is present in proliferative tissues like cancer, in tryptophan uptake. Importantly, we found that this transport system mediates tryptophan/kynurenine exchange. The tryptophan influx/kynurenine efflux cycle couples tryptophan starvation to elevation of kynurenine serum levels, providing a two-pronged induction of apoptosis in neighboring cells. The strict coupling protects cells that overproduce IDO from kynurenine accumulation. Consequently, this mechanism may contribute to immunosuppression involved in autoimmunity and tumor immune escape.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050257

    View details for Web of Science ID 000251072700011

    View details for PubMedID 17896864

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