The carboxyl-terminal amino acid sequences of the canine and gerbil glucose transporter GLUT3 were determined and compared to the published rat sequence. Eleven of 16 amino acids comprising the carboxyl terminus of GLUT3 were found to be identical in rat and dog. However, the canine sequence "ATV" substitutes for the rat sequence "PGNA" at the end of the molecule. The gerbil sequence has 12 of 16 amino acids identical to the rat, including the PGNA terminus. Based on these sequences, four peptides were synthesized, and two polyclonal antisera (one to the canine sequence and one to the rat sequence) were raised to examine the distribution of GLUT3 in canine and rodent brain. Immunoblots of brain membrane preparations showed that both antisera identified peptide-inhibitable protein bands of molecular weight 45,000-50,000. Immunocytochemical studies demonstrated that binding sites for these antisera were abundantly distributed in neuropil in all brain regions. Areas rich in synapses and areas surrounding microvessels exhibited especially high reactivity. GLUT3 reactivity was similarly distributed in canine and rodent brain, except at the blood-brain barrier. GLUT3 was not detected in the blood-brain barrier in gerbil and rat but was present in many canine cerebral endothelial cells, particularly in cerebellum and brain stem. The carboxyl-terminal antisera employed in this study exhibited high degrees of species specificity, indicating that the three or four terminal amino acids of the immunizing peptides (ATV and PGNA) are important epitopes for binding the polyclonal antibodies. These antisera exhibited only minimal binding to brain tissue of non-target species, yet yielded similar staining patterns in neuropil of rodent and canine brain. This finding provides strong evidence that the observed staining patterns accurately reflect the distribution of GLUT3 in brain. In addition, the presence of vascular GLUT3 in dog brain suggests that the canine blood-brain barrier may be preferable to that of the rat as a model for studies of glucose transport relevant to human brain.
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Acknowledgements--This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grants NS27229 (L.R.D.) and NS22213 and NS17493 (A.L.M.).