Chemical Modulation of the Human Oligopeptide Transporter 1, hPepT1

Claire Colas, Masayuki Masuda, Kazuaki Sugio, Seiji Miyauchi, Yongjun Hu, David E. Smith, Avner Schlessinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In humans, peptides derived from dietary proteins and peptide-like drugs are transported via the proton-dependent oligopeptide transporter hPepT1 (SLC15A1). hPepT1 is located across the apical membranes of the small intestine and kidney, where it serves as a high-capacity low-affinity transporter of a broad range of di- and tripeptides. hPepT1 is also overexpressed in the colon of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients, where it mediates the transport of harmful peptides of bacterial origin. Therefore, hPepT1 is a drug target for prodrug substrates interacting with intracellular proteins or inhibitors blocking the transport of toxic bacterial products. In this study, we construct multiple structural models of hPepT1 representing different conformational states that occur during transport and inhibition. We then identify and characterize five ligands of hPepT1 using computational methods, such as virtual screening and QM-polarized ligand docking (QPLD), and experimental testing with uptake kinetic measurements and electrophysiological assays. Our results improve our understanding of the substrate and inhibitor specificity of hPepT1. Furthermore, the newly discovered ligands exhibit unique chemotypes, providing a framework for developing tool compounds with optimal intestinal absorption as well as future IBD therapeutics against this emerging drug target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4685-4693
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number12
StatePublished - 4 Dec 2017


  • IBD
  • SLC15
  • drug absorption
  • homology modeling
  • membrane protein
  • solute carrier transporter


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