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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Zn2+ inhibits glycine transport by glycine transporter subtype 1b.

In the central nervous system, glycine is a co-agonist with glutamate at the N-methyl-D-aspartate subtype of glutamate receptors and also an agonist at inhibitory, strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors. The GLYT1 subtypes of glycine transporters (GLYTs) are responsible for regulation of glycine at excitatory synapses, whereas a combination of GLYT1 and GLYT2 subtypes of glycine transporters are used at inhibitory glycinergic synapses. Zn2+ is stored in synaptic vesicles with glutamate in a number of regions of the brain and is believed to play a role in modulation of excitatory neurotransmission. In this study we have investigated the actions of Zn2+ on the glycine transporters, GLYT1b and GLYT2a, expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and we demonstrate that Zn2+ is a noncompetitive inhibitor of GLYT1 but has no effect on GLYT2. We have also investigated the molecular basis for these differences and the relationship between the Zn2+ and proton binding sites on GLYT1. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we identified 2 histidine residues, His-243 in the large second extracellular loop (ECL2) and His-410 in the fourth extracellular loop (ECL4), as two coordinates in the Zn2+ binding site of GLYT1b. In addition, our study suggests that the molecular determinants of proton regulation of GLYT1b are localized to the 2 histidine residues (His-410 and His-421) of ECL4. The ability of Zn2+ and protons to regulate the rate of glycine transport by interacting with residues situated in ECL4 of GLYT1b suggests that this region may influence the substrate translocation mechanism.[1]


  1. Zn2+ inhibits glycine transport by glycine transporter subtype 1b. Ju, P., Aubrey, K.R., Vandenberg, R.J. J. Biol. Chem. (2004) [Pubmed]
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