δ-aminolevulinic acid, the precursor of porphyrin biosynthesis has been used to induce the endogenous synthesis of the photosensitiser protoporphyrin IX for photodynamic therapy in the treatment of various tumours. The aim of this work was to characterise the δ-aminolevulinic acid transport system in the murine mammary adenocarcinoma cell line LM3 using 14C-δ-aminolevulinic acid, to finally improve δ-aminolevulinic acid incorporation in mammalian cells. Our results showed that δ-aminolevulinic acid is incorporated into these cells by two different mechanisms, passive diffusion which is important at the beginning of the incubation, and active transport. Specificity assays suggested that the transporter involved in δ-aminolevulinic acid incorporation is a BETA transporter, probably GAT-2
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