Sodium-coupled neutral amino acid transporter 1 (SNAT1) modulates L-citrulline transport and nitric oxide (NO) signaling in piglet pulmonary arterial endothelial cells

Anna Dikalova, Angela Fagiana, Judy L. Aschner, Michael Aschner, Marshall Summar, Candice D. Fike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Rationale: There is evidence that impairments in nitric oxide (NO) signaling contribute to chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. The L-arginine-NO precursor, L-citrulline, has been shown to ameliorate pulmonary hypertension. Sodium-coupled neutral amino acid transporters (SNATs) are involved in the transport of L-citrulline into pulmonary arterial endothelial cells (PAECs). The functional link between the SNATs, L-citrulline, and NO signaling has not yet been explored. Objective: We tested the hypothesis that changes in SNAT1 expression and transport function regulate NO production by modulating eNOS coupling in newborn piglet PAECs. Methods and Results: A silencing RNA (siRNA) technique was used to assess the contribution of SNAT1 to NO production and eNOS coupling (eNOS dimer-to-monomer ratios) in PAECs from newborn piglets cultured under normoxic and hypoxic conditions in the presence and absence of L-citrulline. SNAT1 siRNA reduced basal NO production in normoxic PAECs and prevented L-citrulline-induced elevations in NO production in both normoxic and hypoxic PAECs. SNAT1 siRNA reduced basal eNOS dimer-to-monomer ratios in normoxic PAECs and prevented L-citrulline-induced increases in eNOS dimer-tomonomer ratios in hypoxic PAECs. Conclusions: SNAT1 mediated L-citrulline transport modulates eNOS coupling and thus regulates NO production in hypoxic PAECs from newborn piglets. Strategies that increase SNAT1-mediated transport and supply of L-citrulline may serve as novel therapeutic approaches to enhance NO production in patients with pulmonary vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere85730
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this