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The alanine-serine-cysteine transporter Asc-1 regulates the synaptic availability of D-serine and glycine (the two co-agonists of the NMDA receptor) and is regarded as an important drug target. To shuttle the substrate from the extracellular space to the cytoplasm, this transporter undergoes multiple distinct conformational states. In this work, homology modeling, substrate docking and molecular dynamics simulations were carried out to learn more about the transition between the "outward-open" and "outward-open occluded" states. We identified a transition state involving the highly-conserved unwound TM6 region in which the Phe243 flips close to the D-serine substrate without major movements of TM6. This feature and those of other key residues are proposed to control the binding site and substrate translocation. Competitive inhibitors ACPP, LuAE00527 and SMLC were docked and their binding modes at the substrate binding site corroborated the key role played by Phe243 of TM6. For ACPP and LuAE00527, strong hydrophobic interactions with this residue hinder its mobility and prevent the uptake and the efflux of substrates. As for SMLC, the weaker interactions maintain the flexibility of Phe243 and the efflux process. Overall, we propose a molecular basis for the inhibition of substrate translocation of the Asc-1 transporter that should be valuable for rational drug design.


Afaf Mikou, Alexandre CabayƩ, Anne Goupil, Hugues-Olivier Bertrand, Jean-Pierre Mothet, Francine C Acher. Asc-1 Transporter (SLC7A10): Homology Models And Molecular Dynamics Insights Into The First Steps Of The Transport Mechanism. Scientific reports. 2020 Feb 28;10(1):3731

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PMID: 32111919

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