Taurine and its transporter (TauT) are expressed in preimplantation embryos, but their role in embryogenesis is not known. To investigate the role of TauT during embryonic development, we cloned and functionally characterized the zebrafish TauT. The zebrafish TauT cDNA codes for a protein of 625 amino acids which is highly homologous to mammalian TauT. When expressed in mammalian cells, zebrafish TauT mediates taurine uptake in a Na+/Cl--dependent manner with a Na+:Cl-:taurine stoichiometry of 2:1:1. In the zebrafish embryo, taurine and TauT mRNA are present during early cleavage stages, indicating that both the transporter and its substrate are maternally derived. During embryogenesis, zygotic expression of TauT mRNA is evident in the retina, brain, heart, kidney, and blood vessels. Knockdown of TauT by antisense morpholino oligonucleotides leads to cell death in the central nervous system and increased mortality. These findings suggest a specific role for TauT during development in vertebrates.
- Taurine transporter
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)