Pakuła K,* Sequeiros-Borja C,* Biała-Leonhard W,* Pawela A, Banasiak J, Bailly A, Radom M, Geisler M, Brezovsky J,# Jasiński M,# 2023: Restriction of access to the central cavity is a major contributor to substrate selectivity in plant ABCG transporters. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 80: 105. full text
ABCG46 of the legume Medicago truncatula is an ABC-type transporter responsible for highly selective translocation of the phenylpropanoids, 4-coumarate, and liquiritigenin, over the plasma membrane. To investigate molecular determinants of the observed substrate selectivity, we applied a combination of phylogenetic and biochemical analyses, AlphaFold2 structure prediction, molecular dynamics simulations, and mutagenesis. We discovered an unusually narrow transient access path to the central cavity of MtABCG46 that constitutes an initial filter responsible for the selective translocation of phenylpropanoids through a lipid bilayer. Furthermore, we identified remote residue F562 as pivotal for maintaining the stability of this filter. The determination of individual amino acids that impact the selective transport of specialized metabolites may provide new opportunities associated with ABCGs being of interest, in many biological scenarios.