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Structural correlates of the creatine transporter function regulation: the undiscovered country

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Creatine (Cr) and phosphocreatine constitute an energy shuttle that links ATP production in mitochondria to subcellular locations of ATP consumption. Cells in tissues that are reliant on this energy shuttle, such as myocytes and neurons, appear to have very limited ability to synthesize creatine. Therefore, these cells depend on Cr uptake across the cell membrane by a specialized creatine transporter (CrT solute carrier SLC6A8) in order to maintain intracellular creatine levels. Cr supplementation has been shown to have a beneficial effect in numerous in vitro and in vivo models, particularly in cases of oxidative stress, and is also widely used by athletes as a performance enhancement nutraceutical. Intracellular creatine content is maintained within narrow limits. However, the physiological and cellular mechanisms that mediate Cr transport during health and disease (such as cardiac failure) are not understood. In this narrative mini-review, we summarize the last three decades of research on CrT structure, function and regulation.

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The support of the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, its Institute for Translational Sciences, and Department of Surgery. We gratefully acknowledge Enrique Toloza for his assistance in the preparation of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Lucia Santacruz.

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Handling Editor: T. Wallimann and R. Harris.

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Santacruz, L., Jacobs, D.O. Structural correlates of the creatine transporter function regulation: the undiscovered country. Amino Acids 48, 2049–2055 (2016).

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