PublicationsThe circadian clock regulates RPE-mediated lactate transport via SLC16A1 (MCT1)
Multiple retinal cells harbor a circadian oscillator, including retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE). However, little is known about the functions that are regulated by the RPE clock. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the circadian clock in the RPE regulates the transport of glucose and its glycolytic metabolic by-product – lactate. To that end, we first characterized the mRNA expression profile of glucose and monocarboxylate transporters in ARPE-19 cells. We found that SLC2A1 and SLC16A1 were, respectively, the most abundantly expressed glucose and lactate (monocarboxylate) transporters. We further observed that the protein products of SLC2A1 (encoding GLUT1) and SLC16A1 (encoding MCT1) localize on the apical membrane of ARPE-19 monolayers. In a subsequent time-course experiment, we found that SLC2A1 and SLC16A1 mRNA oscillated in ARPE-19 monolayers, but not in dispersed cells, suggesting that monolayer cellular organization is necessary for rhythmic regulation of these transporters. In these monolayers, we found that MCT1 proteins varied over time, in contrast to GLUT1 proteins which did not vary over time. Spectrophotometric measurements of supernatants sampled from ARPE-19 monolayer cultures revealed that glucose concentrations did not significantly differ between apical (Api) supernatants and basolateral (BL) ones. In addition, we did not find rhythms in Api or BL glucose concentrations. Conversely, we found higher lactate concentrations in Api supernatants than BL ones. Further, we found that Api lactate concentrations were rhythmic. Pearson’s r revealed that the concentration gradients (Api – BL) of glucose and lactate correlated with the gene expression of respective SLC2A1 and SLC16A1 transporters. Incubation with photoreceptor outer segments (POS) affected the mRNA expression of SLC16A1 and SLC2A1 in ARPE-19 monolayers in a time-dependent manner, thus suggesting that the retina might modulate the RPE clock-controlled expression of transporters via interactions with POS. In conclusion, this work provides evidence that the transport of lactate is regulated by the circadian clock in the RPE.