Organic Cation Transport Measurements Using Fluorescence Techniques

  • Giuliano Ciarimboli
  • Eberhard SchlatterEmail author
Part of the Neuromethods book series (NM, volume 118)


Analysis of transport processes using fluorescent substrates is a powerful tool to dynamically study various aspects of several transporters. The fluorescent organic cation 4(4-dimethylaminostyryl)-N-methylpyridinium (ASP+) due to its specific fluorescence properties is a valuable probe for studying transport mediated by transporters of organic cations. ASP+ is accepted by many members of the family of organic cation transporters and can be utilized in a wide spectrum of experimental settings analyzing such transport dynamics from the in vitro to the in vivo situation. Since its first introduction in 1994, ASP+ has been widely used by several laboratories worldwide for all kinds of studies analyzing organic cation transport.

Key words

ASP+ Organic cation transport OCT Proximal tubule Microtiter plate reader Epifluorescence Fluorescence imaging Two-photon microscopy Expression systems 



The work from the authors’ laboratory described here was supported by the German Research Council (Schl 277/8-1 to 8-4 and 12-3 and CI 107/4-1 to 4-3), the German Krebshilfe Foundation (#108539), the Interdisciplinary Center of Clinical Research (IZKF, Cia2/013/13), and the Innovative Medical Research (IMF) of the Medical Faculty of the University Münster, Germany.


  1. 1.
    Bresler VM, Bresler SE, Nikiforov AA (1975) Structure and active transport in the plasma membrane of the tubules of frog kidney. Biochim Biophys Acta 406:526–537CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bresler VM, Natochin I (1973) Diuretic inhibition of fluorescein secretion in the proximal kidney tubules of the frog (a study during life by the contact microscopy method). Biull Eksp Biol Med 75:67–69PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Steinhausen M, Müller P, Parekh N (1976) Renal test dyes IV. Intravital fluorescence microscopy and microphotometry of the tubularly secreted dye sulfonefluorescein. Pflugers Arch 364:83–89CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Rohlicek V, Ullrich KJ (1994) Simple device for continuous measurement of fluorescent anions and cations in the rat kidney in situ. Ren Physiol Biochem 17:57–61PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Pietruck F, Ullrich KJ (1995) Transport interactions of different organic cations during their excretion by the intact rat kidney. Kidney Int 47:1647–1657CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ciarimboli G, Schlatter E (2005) Regulation of organic cation transport. Pflugers Arch 449:423–441CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ciarimboli G (2008) Organic cation transporters. Xenobiotica 38:936–971CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Koepsell H, Endou H (2004) The SLC22 drug transporter family. Pflugers Arch 447:666–676CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Koepsell H (2004) Polyspecific organic cation transporters: their functions and interactions with drugs. Trends Pharmacol Sci 25:375–381CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Shaikh M, Mohanty J, Singh PK et al (2010) Contrasting solvent polarity effect on the photophysical properties of two newly synthesized aminostyryl dyes in the lower and in the higher solvent polarity regions. J Phys Chem A 114:4507–4519CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Haidekker MA, Brady TP, Lichlyter D et al (2005) Effects of solvent polarity and solvent viscosity on the fluorescent properties of molecular rotors and related probes. Bioorg Chem 33:415–425CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ramadass R, Bereiter-Hahn J (2007) Photophysical properties of DASPMI as revealed by spectrally resolved fluorescence decays. J Phys Chem B 111:7681–7690CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Glazachev YI, Semenova AD, Kryukova NA et al (2012) Express method for determination of low value of trans-membrane potential of living cells with fluorescence probe: application on haemocytes at immune responses. J Fluoresc 22:1223–1229CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Wilde S, Schlatter E, Koepsell H et al (2009) Calmodulin-associated post-translational regulation of rat organic cation transporter 2 in the kidney is gender dependent. Cell Mol Life Sci 66:1729–1740CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Villa AM, Doglia SM (2004) Mitochondria in tumor cells studied by laser scanning confocal microscopy. J Biomed Opt 9:385–394CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Pietruck F, Hörbelt M, Feldkamp T et al (2006) Digital fluorescence imaging of organic cation transport in freshly isolated rat proximal tubules. Drug Metab Dispos 34:339–342PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tanner GA, Sandoval RM, Dunn KW (2004) Two-photon in vivo microscopy of sulfonefluorescein secretion in normal and cystic rat kidneys. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 286:F152–F160CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hörbelt M, Wotzlaw C, Sutton TA et al (2007) Organic cation transport in the rat kidney in vivo visualized by time-resolved two-photon microscopy. Kidney Int 72:422–429CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hohage H, Stachon A, Feidt C et al (1998) Regulation of organic cation transport in IHKE-1 and LLC-PK1 cells. Fluorimetric studies with 4-(4-dimethylaminostyryl)-N-methylpyridinium. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 286:305–310PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hohage H, Stachon A, Feidt C et al (1998) Effects of protein kinase activation on organic cation transport in human proximal tubular cells. Nova Acta Leopoldina NF 306:293–298Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Stachon A, Schlatter E, Hohage H (1996) Dynamic monitoring of organic cation transport processes by fluorescence measurements in LLC-PK1 cells. Cell Physiol Biochem 6:72–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Stachon A, Hohage H, Feidt C et al (1997) Characterization of organic cation transport across the apical membrane of proximal tubular cells with the fluorescent dye 4-Di-1-ASP. Cell Physiol Biochem 7:264–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Stachon A, Hohage H, Feidt C et al (1998) Cytostatics and neurotransmitters are transported by the organic cation transporter in proximal cells. Nova Acta Leopoldina NF 78(306):333–338Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Gorboulev V, Ulzheimer JC, Akhoundova A et al (1997) Cloning and characterization of two human polyspecific organic cation transporters. DNA Cell Biol 16:871–881CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Koepsell H (1998) Organic cation transporters in intestine, kidney, liver, and brain. Annu Rev Physiol 60:243–266CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Okuda M, Saito H, Urakami Y et al (1996) cDNA cloning and functional expression of a novel rat kidney organic cation transporter, OCT2. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 224:500–507CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Holle SK, Ciarimboli G, Edemir B et al (2011) Properties and regulation of organic cation transport in freshly isolated mouse proximal tubules analyzed with a fluorescence reader-based method. Pflugers Arch 462:359–369CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Pietig G, Mehrens T, Hirsch JR et al (2001) Properties and regulation of organic cation transport in freshly isolated human proximal tubules. J Biol Chem 276:33741–33746CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Urakami Y, Akazawa M, Saito H et al (2002) cDNA cloning, functional characterization, and tissue distribution of an alternatively spliced variant of organic cation transporter hOCT2 predominantly expressed in the human kidney. J Am Soc Nephrol 13:1703–1710CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Motohashi H, Sajurai Y, Saito H et al (2002) Gene expression levels and immunolocalization of organic ion transporters in the human kidney. J Am Soc Nephrol 13:866–874PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Mehrens T, Lelleck S, Çetinkaya I et al (2000) The affinity of the organic cation transporter rOCT1 is increased by protein kinase C dependent phosphorylation. J Am Soc Nephrol 11:1216–1224PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Ciarimboli G, Struwe K, Arndt P et al (2004) Regulation of the human organic cation transporter hOCT1. J Cell Physiol 201:420–428CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ciarimboli G, Koepsell H, Iordanova M et al (2005) Individual PKC-phosphorylation sites in organic cation transporter 1 determine substrate selectivity and transport regulation. J Am Soc Nephrol 16:1562–1570CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Guckel D, Ciarimboli G, Pavenstädt H et al (2012) Regulation of organic cation transport in isolated mouse proximal tubules involves complex changes in protein trafficking and substrate affinity. Cell Physiol Biochem 30:269–281CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Massmann V, Edemir B, Schlatter E et al (2014) The organic cation transporter 3 (OCT3) as molecular target of psychotropic drugs: transport characteristics and acute regulation of cloned murine OCT3. Pflügers Arch 466(3):517–527Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Schlatter E, Klassen P, Massmann Vet al (2914) Mouse organic cation transporter 1 determines properties and regulation of basolateral organic cation transport in renal proximal tubules. Pflügers Arch 466(8):1581–1589Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ciarimboli G, Ludwig T, Lang D et al (2005) Cisplatin nephrotoxicity is critically mediated via the human organic cation transporter 2. Am J Pathol 167:1477–1484CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Ciarimboli G, Lancaster CS, Schlatter E et al (2012) Proximal tubular secretion of creatinine by organic cation transporter OCT2 in cancer patients. Clin Cancer Res 18:1101–1108CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Schmidt-Lauber C, Harrach S, Pap T et al (2012) Transport mechanisms and their pathology-induced regulation govern tyrosine kinase inhibitor delivery in rheumatoid arthritis. PLoS One 7:e52247CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Grigat S, Fork C, Bach M et al (2009) The carnitine transporter SLC22A5 is not a general drug transporter, but it efficiently translocates mildronate. Drug Metab Dispos 37:330–337CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Russ H, Gliese M, Sonna J et al (1992) The extraneuronal transport mechanism for noradrenaline (uptake2) avidly transports 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+). Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol 346:158–165CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Kitayama S, Shimada S, Uhl GR (1992) Parkinsonism-inducing neurotoxin MPP+: uptake and toxicity in nonneuronal COS cells expressing dopamine transporter cDNA. Ann Neurol 32:109–111CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Schwartz JW, Blakely RD, DeFelice LJ (2003) Binding and transport in norepinephrine transporters. Real-time, spatially resolved analysis in single cells using a fluorescent substrate. J Biol Chem 278:9768–9777CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Schwartz JW, Novarino G, Piston DW et al (2005) Substrate binding stoichiometry and kinetics of the norepinephrine transporter. J Biol Chem 280:19177–19184CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Bolan EA, Kivell B, Jaligam V et al (2007) D2 receptors regulate dopamine transporter function via an extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2-dependent and phosphoinositide 3 kinase-independent mechanism 1. Mol Pharmacol 71:1222–1232CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Oz M, Libby T, Kivell B et al (2010) Real-time, spatially resolved analysis of serotonin transporter activity and regulation using the fluorescent substrate, ASP+. J Neurochem 114:1019–1029PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Experimentelle NephrologieMedizinische Klinik DMünsterGermany

Personalised recommendations