Molecular determinants of ligand selectivity for the human multidrug and toxin extruder proteins MATE1 and MATE2-K

Bethzaida Astorga, Sean Ekins, Mark Morales, Stephen H. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The present study compared the selectivity of two homologous transport proteins, multidrug and toxin extruders 1 and 2-K (MATE1 and MATE2-K), and developed three-dimensional pharmacophores for inhibitory ligand interaction with human MATE1 (hMATE1). The human orthologs of MATE1 and MATE2-K were stably expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells, and transport function was determined by measuring uptake of the prototypic organic cation (OC) substrate 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP). Both MATEs had similar apparent affinities for MPP, with K tapp values of 4.4 and 3.7 μM for MATE1 and MATE2-K, respectively. Selectivity was assessed for both transporters from IC 50values for 59 structurally diverse compounds. Whereas the two transporters discriminated markedly between a few of the test compounds, the IC 50 values for MATE1 and MATE2-K were within a factor of 3 for most of them. For hMATE1 there was little or no correlation between IC 50 values and the individual molecular descriptors LogP, total polar surface area, or pK a. The IC 50 values were used to generate a common-features pharmacophore, quantitative pharmacophores for hMATE1, and a Bayesian model suggesting molecular features favoring and not favoring the interaction of ligands with hMATE1. The models identified hydrophobic regions, hydrogen bond donor and hydrogen bond acceptor sites, and an ionizable (cationic) feature as key determinants for ligand binding to MATE1. In summary, using a combined in vitro and computational approach, MATE1 and MATE2-K were found to have markedly overlapping selectivities for a broad range of cationic compounds, including representatives from seven novel drug classes of Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-755
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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