Erythroid SLC7A5/SLC3A2 amino acid carrier controls red blood cell size and maturation.

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2023

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Bouthelier, Antonio
Fernández-Arroyo, Lucía
Mesa-Ciller, Claudia
Cibrian, Danay
Martín-Cófreces, Noa Beatriz
Castillo-González, Raquel
Calero, Macarena
Guajardo-Grence, Andrea
Pacheco, Ana María

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iScience
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Inhibition of the heterodimeric amino acid carrier SLC7A5/SLC3A2 (LAT1/CD98) has been widely studied in tumor biology but its role in physiological conditions remains largely unknown. Here we show that the SLC7A5/SLC3A2 heterodimer is constitutively present at different stages of erythroid differentiation but absent in mature erythrocytes. Administration of erythropoietin (EPO) further induces SLC7A5/SLC3A2 expression in circulating reticulocytes, as it also occurs in anemic conditions. Although Slc7a5 gene inactivation in the erythrocyte lineage does not compromise the total number of circulating red blood cells (RBCs), their size and hemoglobin content are significantly reduced accompanied by a diminished erythroblast mTORC1 activity. Furthermore circulating Slc7a5-deficient reticulocytes are characterized by lower transferrin receptor (CD71) expression as well as mitochondrial activity, suggesting a premature transition to mature RBCs. These data reveal that SLC7A5/SLC3A2 ensures adequate maturation of reticulocytes as well as the proper size and hemoglobin content of circulating RBCs.

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