Structure-Based Identification of Inhibitors for the SLC13 Family of Na(+)/Dicarboxylate Cotransporters

Biochemistry. 2015 Aug 11;54(31):4900-8. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.5b00388. Epub 2015 Jul 30.


In mammals, citric acid cycle intermediates play a key role in regulating various metabolic processes, such as fatty acid synthesis and glycolysis. Members of the sodium-dependent SLC13 transporter family mediate the transport of di- and tricarboxylates into cells. SLC13 family members have been implicated in lifespan extension and resistance to high-fat diets; thus, they are emerging drug targets for aging and metabolic disorders. We previously characterized key structural determinants of substrate and cation binding for the human NaDC3/SLC13A3 transporter using a homology model. Here, we combine computational modeling and virtual screening with functional and biochemical testing, to identify nine previously unknown inhibitors for multiple members of the SLC13 family from human and mouse. Our results reveal previously unknown substrate selectivity determinants for the SLC13 family, including key residues that mediate ligand binding and transport, as well as promiscuous and specific SLC13 small molecule ligands. The newly discovered ligands can serve as chemical tools for further characterization of the SLC13 family or as lead molecules for the future development of potent inhibitors for the treatment of metabolic diseases and aging. Our results improve our understanding of the structural components that are important for substrate specificity in this physiologically important family as well as in other structurally related transport systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Dependent / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Dependent / chemistry*
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Dependent / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Dependent