Elucidation of Substrate Binding Interactions for Human Organic Cation Transporters 1 (SLC22A1) and 2 (SLC22A2) Using In Silico Homology Modeling in Conjunction with In Vitro Site-Directed Mutagenesis and Kinetic Analysis
Doctor of Philosophy
Douglas H Sweet
The organic cation transporters (OCTs) play a critical role in the absorption, distribution and elimination of many drugs, hormones, herbal medicines, and environmental toxins. Given the broad substrate specificity of OCTs, they fall victim to the high susceptibility for contributing to harmful drug-drug interactions. Further defining how human (h)OCTs mechanistically bind to its broad array of substrates will provide significant insight to the understanding and prediction of drug-drug interactions in polypharmacy patients and the advancement of future rational drug design for therapeutics targeting OCTs. The goal of the current study was to elucidate the critical amino acid residues for transporter-substrate binding interactions on human (h)OCT1 and 2 utilizing in silico molecular modeling techniques (homology modeling and automated docking), as well as in vitro mutagenesis and kinetic transport experiments.
Three-dimensional homology models were generated for hOCT1 and 2 using Piriformospora indica phosphate transporter (PiPT) serving as template. A putative binding pocket was identified and used to dock the prototypical substrate MPP+. Docking studies revealed five residues for each transporter (hOCT1 and hOCT2) that may be critical for substrate-transporter interactions. The in silico data was used to guide subsequent in vitro site-directed mutagenesis and kinetic analysis. Four hOCT1 mutants (Gln241Lys, Thr245Lys, Tyr361Ala, and Glu447Lys) and three hOCT2 mutants (Gln242Lys, Tyr362Phe, and Tyr362Ala) showed complete loss of MPP+ transporter activity. Decreased affinity for MPP+ was observed for Phe244Ser and Thr245Ser in hOCT1, and Tyr245Ala in hOCT2. All amino acid residues highlighted in the in vitro experiments may be potentially critical for substrate-transporter interactions particularly Tyr361, Phe244 and Thr245 in hOCT1; and Tyr362 and Tyr245 in hOCT2. Docking of known structurally divergent hOCT1 and hOCT2 substrates revealed similar binding interactions as that identified for MPP+, albeit with some unique residues, suggesting the presence of a large central cavity within both transporters.
Through the combination of in silico and in vitro experiments, a putative binding pocket was defined and several residues important for substrate-transporter interaction were identified and verified for hOCT1 and hOCT2. Further defining how OCTs biochemically interact with their broad array of substrates will provide significant insight to the understanding and prediction of drug-drug interactions in polypharmacy patients and the advancement of future rational drug design for therapeutics targeting OCT1 and OCT2.
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