The uptake of L-Tyr by B16/F10 malignant melanocytes in culture has been studied. These melanoma cells can either be depleted of amino acids by 1 h preincubation in Hanks' isotonic medium or preloaded with a specific amino acid by 1 h preincubation in the same solution containing 2 mM of the amino acid to be preloaded. By means of these pretreatments, it is shown that the rate of L-Tyr uptake is greatly dependent on the content of other amino acids inside the cells. The L-Tyr uptake is higher in cells preloaded with amino acids transported by the L and ASC systems than in cells depleted of amino acids or preloaded with amino acids transported by the A system. It is concluded that L-Tyr is mainly taken up by an exchange mechanism with other amino acids mediated by the L1 system, although the ASC system can also participate in the process. In agreement with that, the homo-exchange performed by cells preloaded with unlabelled L-Tyr is more efficient than any other hetero-exchange, although L-Dopa, the product of tyrosine hydroxylation in melanin synthesis, is almost as efficient as L-Tyr. Apart from aromatic amino acids, melanoma cells preloaded with L-Met and L-His also yield a high initial rate of L-Tyr uptake. The results herein suggest that melanoma cells do not have transport systems specific for L-Tyr, even if this amino acid is needed to carry out the differential pathway of this type of cells, melanosynthesis.

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