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The physiological importance of CD98 surface antigen in regulating placental trophoblast cell fusion and amino acid transport activity has been studied in parallel in a cell model of syncytialization (the cytotrophoblast cell line BeWo following increased intracellular cAMP by forskolin treatment) using antisense oligonucleotides. CD98 protein abundance (determined by Western blot) was decreased by 50 % following antisense oligonucleotide transfection. Transfection with antisense oligonucleotide altered the responses of BeWo to forskolin. Cell fusion (determined by a quantitative flow cytometry assay) was inhibited by 57 %, and both human chorionic gonadotropin secretion and L-leucine influx through system L were suppressed. These findings show that CD98 is involved in the process of cell fusion necessary for syncytiotrophoblast formation and that during this physiologically important event, amino acid transport activity is also regulated through expression of this membrane protein.

Original publication




Journal article


J Physiol

Publication Date





3 - 9


Amino Acid Transport Systems, Antigens, CD98, Blotting, Western, Cell Fusion, Cell Line, Chorionic Gonadotropin, Colforsin, Cyclic AMP, Female, Flow Cytometry, Green Fluorescent Proteins, Humans, Indicators and Reagents, Leucine, Luminescent Proteins, Microscopy, Confocal, Oligonucleotides, Antisense, Placenta, Transfection, Trophoblasts