The characteristics of nucleoside transport were examined in Walker 256 rat carcinosarcoma and S49 mouse lymphoma cells. In Walker 256 cells the initial rates of uridine, thymidine and adenosine uptake were insensitive to the nucleoside transport inhibitor nitrobenzylthioinosine (NBMPR) (1 microM), but were partially inhibited by dipyridamole (10 microM), another inhibitor of nucleoside transport. In contrast, the transport of these nucleosides in S49 cells was completely blocked by both inhibitors. Nucleoside transport in Walker 256 and S49 cells also differed in its sensitivity to the thiol reagent p-chloromercuribenzenesulphonate (pCMBS). Uridine transport in Walker 256 cells was inhibited by pCMBS with an IC50 (concentration producing 50% inhibition) of less than 25 microM, and inhibition was readily reversed by beta-mercaptoethanol. In S49 cells uridine transport was only inhibited at much higher concentrations of pCMBS (IC50 approximately equal to 300 microM). In other respects nucleoside transport in Walker 256 and S49 cells were quite similar. The Km and Vmax. values for uridine transport were nearly identical, and the transporters of both cell lines appeared to accept a broad range of nucleosides as substrates. Uridine transport in Walker 256 cells was non-concentrative and did not require an energy source. These studies demonstrate that nucleoside uptake in Walker 256 cells is mediated by a facilitated-diffusion mechanism which differs markedly from that of S49 cells in its sensitivity to the transport inhibitor NBMPR and the thiol reagent pCMBS.

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