Net taurine transport across the frog retinal pigment epithelium-choroid was measured as a function of extracellular potassium concentration, [K+]o. The net rate of retina-to-choroid transport increased monotonically as [K+]o increased from 0.2 mM to 2 mM on the apical (neural retinal) side of the tissue. No further increase was observed when [k+]o was elevated to 5 mM. The [K+]o changes that modulate taurine transport approximate the light-induced [K+]o changes that occur in the extracellular space separating the photoreceptors and the apical membrane of the pigment epithelium. The taurine-potassium interaction was studied by using rubidium as a substitute for potassium and measuring active rubidium transport as a function of extracellular taurine concentration. An increase in apical taurine concentration, from 0.2 mM to 2 mM, produced a threefold increase in active rubidium transport, retina to choroid. Net taurine transport can also be altered by relatively large, 55 mM, changes in [Na+]o. Apical ouabain, 10(-4) M, inhibited active taurine, rubidium, and potassium transport; in the case of taurine, this inhibition is most likely due to a decrease in the sodium electrochemical gradient. In sum, these results suggest that the apical membrane contains a taurine, sodium co-transport mechanism whose rate is modulated, indirectly, through the sodium pump. This pump has previously been shown to be electrogenic and located on the apical membrane, and its rate is modulated, indirectly, by the taurine co-transport mechanism.

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