Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor interaction with human equilibrative nucleoside transporters 1 and 2

Siennah R. Miller, Raymond K. Hau, Joseph L. Jilek, Mark N. Morales, Stephen H. Wright, Nathan J. Cherrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Equilibrative nucleoside transporters (ENTs) transport nucleosides across the blood-testis barrier (BTB). ENTs are of interest to study the disposition of nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) in the human male genital tract because of their similarity in structure to nucleosides. HeLa S3 cells express ENT1 and ENT2 and were used to compare relative interactions of these transporters with selected NRTIs. Inhibition of [3H] uridine uptake by NBMPR was biphasic, with IC50 values of 11.3 nM for ENT1 and 9.6 mM for ENT2. Uptake measured with 100 nM NBMPR represented ENT2-mediated transport; subtracting that from total uptake represented ENT1-mediated transport. The kinetics of ENT1- and ENT2-mediated [3H]uridine uptake revealed no difference in Jmax (16.53 and 30.40 pmol cm22 min21) and an eightfold difference in Kt (13.6 and 108.9 mM). The resulting fivefold difference in intrinsic clearance (Jmax/Kt) for ENT1- and ENT2 transport accounted for observed inhibition of [3H]uridine uptake by 100 nM NBMPR. Millimolar concentrations of the NRTIs emtricitabine, didanosine, lamivudine, stavudine, tenofovir disoproxil, and zalcitabine had no effect on ENT transport activity, whereas abacavir, entecavir, and zidovudine inhibited both transporters with IC50 values of ∼200 mM, 2.5 mM, and 2 mM, respectively. Using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and [3H] compounds, the data suggest that entecavir is an ENT substrate, abacavir is an ENT inhibitor, and zidovudine uptake is carrier-mediated, although not an ENT substrate. These data show that HeLa S3 cells can be used to explore complex transporter selectivity and are an adequate model for studying ENTs present at the BTB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-612
Number of pages10
JournalDrug Metabolism and Disposition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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