Sulfur X-ray absorption spectroscopy of living mammalian cells: an enabling tool for sulfur metabolomics. in situ observation of uptake of taurine into MDCK cells

Gnida, M.; Sneeden, E.Y.; Whitin, J.C.; Prince, R.C.; Pickering, I.J.; Korbas, M.łg.; George, G.N.

Biochemistry 46(51): 14735-14741


ISSN/ISBN: 0006-2960
PMID: 18044978
DOI: 10.1021/bi701979h
Accession: 021830723

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Sulfur is essential for life, with important roles in biological structure and function. However, because of a lack of suitable biophysical techniques, in situ information about sulfur biochemistry is generally difficult to obtain. Here, we present an in situ sulfur X-ray absorption spectroscopy (S-XAS) study of living cell cultures of the mammalian renal epithelial MDCK cell line. A great deal of information is retrieved from a characteristic sulfonate feature in the X-ray absorption spectrum of the cell cultures, which can be related to the amino acid taurine. We followed the time and dose dependence of uptake of taurine into MDCK cell monolayers. The corresponding uptake curves showed a typical saturation behavior with considerable levels of taurine accumulation inside the cells (as much as 40% of total cellular sulfur). We also investigated the polarity of uptake of taurine into MDCK cells, and our results confirmed that uptake in situ is predominantly a function of the basolateral cell surface.