Substrate binds in the S1 site of the F253A mutant of LeuT, a neurotransmitter sodium symporter homologue

Hui Wang, Eric Gouaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


LeuT serves as the model protein for understanding the relationships between structure, mechanism and pharmacology in neurotransmitter sodium symporters (NSSs). At the present time, however, there is a vigorous debate over whether there is a single high-affinity substrate site (S1) located at the original, crystallographically determined substrate site or whether there are two high-affinity substrates sites, one at the primary or S1 site and the other at a second site (S2) located at the base of the extracellular vestibule. In an effort to address the controversy over the number of high-affinity substrate sites in LeuT, one group studied the F253A mutant of LeuT and asserted that in this mutant substrate binds exclusively to the S2 site and that 1 mM clomipramine entirely ablates substrate binding to the S2 site. Here we study the binding of substrate to the F253A mutant of LeuT using ligand binding and X-ray crystallographic methods. Both experimental methods unambiguously show that substrate binds to the S1 site of the F253A mutant and that binding is retained in the presence of 1 mM clomipramine. These studies, in combination with previous work, are consistent with a mechanism for LeuT that involves a single high-affinity substrate binding site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-866
Number of pages6
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • X-ray crystallography
  • neurotransmitter uptake
  • sodium-coupled transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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