The characteristics of L-alanine transport in luminal-membrane vesicles isolated either from whole cortex or from pars convoluta or pars recta of rabbit proximal tubules were studied by a rapid filtration technique and by a spectrophotometric method. Uptake of L-alanine by vesicles from whole cortex was mediated by both Na+-dependent and Na+-independent, but electrogenic, processes. The nature, mechanism and tubular localization of the transport systems were studied by the use of vesicles derived from pars convoluta and pars recta. In vesicles from pars recta transport of L-alanine was strictly dependent on Na+ and occurred via a dual transport system, namely a high-affinity (half-saturation 0.14 mM) and a low-affinity system (half-saturation 9.6 mM). The cation-dependent but Na+-unspecific transport system for L-alanine was exclusively localized to the pars convoluta, which also contained an Na+-preferring system of intermediate affinity (half saturation 2.1 mM). A closer examination of the mechanism of transport of L-alanine in vesicles from pars convoluta revealed that an H+ gradient (extravesicular greater than intravesicular) can drive the transport of L-alanine into the vesicles both in the presence and in the absence of Na+. The physiological importance of various L-alanine transporters is briefly discussed.

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