The kinetic properties of transport system T, which is specific for uptake of aromatic amino acids, were studied in rat erythrocytes in the presence of leucine in order to block the neutral amino acid transport system L. Since the triiodothyronine (T3) transport system and system T are closely related, the trans effect of T3 and tryptophan on [3H]tryptophan transport and the trans effects of aromatic amino acids on [125I]T3 transport were studied. Equilibrium-exchange, zero-trans and infinite-trans studies of [3H]tryptophan transport indicated that system T in rat erythrocytes is a simple carrier with exchanging properties resulting in trans-acceleration of influx and trans-inhibition of efflux when tryptophan was present at the trans side of the membrane. In erythrocytes preloaded with unlabelled tryptophan, countertransport resulted in a 7-fold accumulation of labelled substrate inside the cells. T3 on the trans side of the membrane inhibited both influx and efflux of tryptophan, with Ki values similar to the Km values of the T3 transport system. Extracellular tryptophan trans-inhibited [125I]T3 efflux in a manner similar to [3H]tryptophan efflux. Preloading erythrocytes with tryptophan resulted in trans-acceleration of T3 uptake and a transient 5-fold accumulation of free T3 into erythrocytes. Phenylalanine and tyrosine (but not the D-isomer of tryptophan or non-aromatic amino acids) also produced trans-acceleration for T3 uptake and T3 countertransport. These results are compatible with a kinetic model assuming a common simple carrier of T3 and tryptophan transport and point to a countertransport pathway driving the uphill uptake of T3 by hetero-exchange with intracellular aromatic amino acids.

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