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Papers of the Week

2023 Apr

Life Sci Alliance



Membrane cholesterol regulates inhibition and substrate transport by the glycine transporter, GlyT2.


Frangos ZJ, Wilson KA, Aitken HM, Cantwell Chater R, Vandenberg RJ, O'Mara ML
Life Sci Alliance. 2023 Apr; 6(4).
PMID: 36690444.


Membrane cholesterol binds to and modulates the function of various SLC6 neurotransmitter transporters, including stabilizing the outward-facing conformation of the dopamine and serotonin transporters. Here, we investigate how cholesterol binds to GlyT2 (SLC6A5), modulates glycine transport rate, and influences bioactive lipid inhibition of GlyT2. Bioactive lipid inhibitors are analgesics that bind to an allosteric site accessible from the extracellular solution when GlyT2 adopts an outward-facing conformation. Using molecular dynamics simulations, mutagenesis, and cholesterol depletion experiments, we show that bioactive lipid inhibition of glycine transport is modulated by the recruitment of membrane cholesterol to a binding site formed by transmembrane helices 1, 5, and 7. Recruitment involves cholesterol flipping from its membrane orientation, and insertion of the 3' hydroxyl group into the cholesterol binding cavity, close to the allosteric site. The synergy between cholesterol and allosteric inhibitors provides a novel mechanism of inhibition and a potential avenue for the development of potent GlyT2 inhibitors as alternative therapeutics for the treatment of neuropathic pain and therapeutics that target other SLC6 transporters.