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CD98 (otherwise known as 4F2) is an integral membrane protein with multiple functions including amino acid transport, integrin activation, cell fusion and cell activation. The molecular mechanisms coordinating these multiple functions remain unclear. We have studied CD98 heavy chain (hc) function in a human placental trophoblast cell line (BeWo). We show that cross-linking of CD98hc by incubation of cells in the presence of functional monoclonal antibodies causes cellular re-distribution of the protein from the cytoplasm to the plasma membrane as measured by flow cytometry, western blotting and quantitative immuno-electron microscopy. The latter technique also indicated that CD98hc is trafficked between cell surface and cytoplasmic pools in vesicles. Increased cell surface CD98 correlates with increased cellular fusion in BeWo cells. In addition, we show reduced LAT 1 surface expression and neutral amino acid transport in the presence of the CD98 mabs. The results thus suggest that the function of CD98 in cell fusion is distinct from its role in cellular nutrient delivery.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochim Biophys Acta

Publication Date





401 - 410


Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing, Amino Acid Transport Systems, Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antigens, CD98 Heavy Chain, Blotting, Western, Cell Fusion, Cell Line, Cross-Linking Reagents, Female, Flow Cytometry, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect, Humans, Membrane Proteins, Placenta, Pregnancy, Trophoblasts