Homology Modeling of Human <gamma>-Butyric Acid Transporters and the Binding of Pro-drugs 5-Aminolevulinic Acid and Methyl Aminolevulinic Acid used in Photodynamic Therapy
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a safe and effective method currently used in the treatment of skin cancer. In ALA-based PDT, 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), or ALA esters, are used as pro-drugs to induce the formation of the potent photosensitizer protoporphyrin IX (PpIX). Activation of PpIX by light causes the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and toxic responses. Studies have indicated that ALA and its methyl ester (MAL) are taken up into the cells via c-butyric acid (GABA) transporters (GATs). Uptake via GATs into peripheral sensory nerve endings may also account for one of the few adverse side effects of ALA-based PDT, namely pain. In the present study, homology models of the four human GAT subtypes were constructed using three x-ray crystal structures of the homologous leucine transporter (LeuT) as templates. Binding of the native substrate GABA and the possible substrates ALA and MAL was investigated by molecular docking of the ligands into the central putative substrate binding sites in the outward-occluded GAT models. Electrostatic potentials (ESPs) of the putative substrate translocation pathway of each subtype were calculated using the outward-open and inward-open homology models. Our results suggested that ALA is a substrate of all four GATs and that MAL is a substrate of GAT-2, GAT-3 and BGT-1. The ESP calculations indicated that differences likely exist in the entry pathway of the transporters (i.e. in outward-open conformations). Such differences may be exploited for development of inhibitors that selectively target specific GAT subtypes and the homology models may hence provide tools for design of therapeutic inhibitors that can be used to reduce ALA-induced pain.
PublisherPublic Library of Science (PLoS)
CitationPLoS ONE (2013), vol. 8(6):e65200.
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