The localization of membrane transporters at the forefront of natural barriers makes these proteins very interesting due to their involvement in the absorption and distribution of nutrients and xenobiotics, including drugs. Over the years, structure/function relationship studies have been performed employing several strategies, including chemical modification of exposed amino acid residues. These approaches are very meaningful when applied to membrane transporters, given that these proteins are characterized by both hydrophobic and hydrophilic domains with a different degree of accessibility to employed chemicals. Besides basic features, the chemical targeting approaches can disclose information useful for pharmacological applications as well. An eminent example of this picture is the histidine/large amino acid transporter SLC7A5, known as LAT1 (Large Amino Acid Transporter 1). This protein is crucial in cell life because it is responsible for mediating the absorption and distribution of essential amino acids in peculiar body districts, such as the blood brain barrier and placenta. Furthermore, LAT1 can recognize a large variety of molecules of pharmacological interest and is also considered a hot target for drugs due to its over-expression in virtually all human cancers. Therefore, it is not surprising that the chemical targeting approach, coupled with bioinformatics, site-directed mutagenesis and transport assays, proved fundamental in describing features of LAT1 such as the substrate binding site, regulatory domains and interactions with drugs that will be discussed in this review. The results on LAT1 can be considered to have general applicability to other transporters linked with human diseases.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.