Amino acids are essential components of all living cells serving as building blocks of proteins, as energy source, and as precursors of metabolites and signaling molecules. Amino acid transporters are membrane proteins that mediate the transfer of amino acids across the plasma membrane, and between compartments in cells, different cells and organs. The absence, overexpression or malfunction of specific amino acid transporters have been associated with human disease. One of the projects within the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) TransCure was directed at SLC7 family amino acid transporters, with a particular focus on the heteromeric amino acid transporters 4F2hc-LAT1 (SLC3A2-SLC7A5) and 4F2hc-LAT2 (SLC3A2-SLC7A8), and the bacterial homologue AdiC. The project addressed questions of basic research (function and structure), pharmacology (identification of potent inhibitors and activators), and pre-clinical medicine (e.g., physiological role in the placenta) and disease models (e.g., tumor progression) of specific SLC7 family amino acid transporters. This review presents, summarizes and discusses selected main results obtained in this NCCR TransCure project.
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© J.-M. Jeckelmann et al.
- Amino acid transporter