De novo mutation in the dopamine transporter gene associates dopamine dysfunction with autism spectrum disorder.
ABSTRACT: De novo genetic variation is an important class of risk factors for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Recently, whole-exome sequencing of ASD families has identified a novel de novo missense mutation in the human dopamine (DA) transporter (hDAT) gene, which results in a Thr to Met substitution at site 356 (hDAT T356M). The dopamine transporter (DAT) is a presynaptic membrane protein that regulates dopaminergic tone in the central nervous system by mediating the high-affinity reuptake of synaptically released DA, making it a crucial regulator of DA homeostasis. Here, we report the first functional, structural and behavioral characterization of an ASD-associated de novo mutation in the hDAT. We demonstrate that the hDAT T356M displays anomalous function, characterized as a persistent reverse transport of DA (substrate efflux). Importantly, in the bacterial homolog leucine transporter, substitution of A289 (the homologous site to T356) with a Met promotes an outward-facing conformation upon substrate binding. In the substrate-bound state, an outward-facing transporter conformation is required for substrate efflux. In Drosophila melanogaster, the expression of hDAT T356M in DA neurons-lacking Drosophila DAT leads to hyperlocomotion, a trait associated with DA dysfunction and ASD. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that alterations in DA homeostasis, mediated by aberrant DAT function, may confer risk for ASD and related neuropsychiatric conditions.
Project description:The precise regulation of synaptic dopamine (DA) content by the dopamine transporter (DAT) ensures the phasic nature of the DA signal, which underlies the ability of DA to encode reward prediction error, thereby driving motivation, attention, and behavioral learning. Disruptions to the DA system are implicated in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and, more recently, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). An ASD-associated de novo mutation in the SLC6A3 gene resulting in a threonine to methionine substitution at site 356 (DAT T356M) was recently identified and has been shown to drive persistent reverse transport of DA (i.e. anomalous DA efflux) in transfected cells and to drive hyperlocomotion in Drosophila melanogaster. A corresponding mutation in the leucine transporter, a DAT-homologous transporter, promotes an outward-facing transporter conformation upon substrate binding, a conformation possibly underlying anomalous dopamine efflux. Here we investigated in vivo the impact of this ASD-associated mutation on DA signaling and ASD-associated behaviors. We found that mice homozygous for this mutation display impaired striatal DA neurotransmission and altered DA-dependent behaviors that correspond with some of the behavioral phenotypes observed in ASD.
Project description:Emerging evidence associates dysfunction in the dopamine (DA) transporter (DAT) with the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The human DAT (hDAT; SLC6A3) rare variant with an Ala to Val substitution at amino acid 559 (hDAT A559V) was previously reported in individuals with bipolar disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We have demonstrated that this variant is hyper-phosphorylated at the amino (N)-terminal serine (Ser) residues and promotes an anomalous DA efflux phenotype. Here, we report the novel identification of hDAT A559V in two unrelated ASD subjects and provide the first mechanistic description of its impaired trafficking phenotype. DAT surface expression is dynamically regulated by DAT substrates including the psychostimulant amphetamine (AMPH), which causes hDAT trafficking away from the plasma membrane. The integrity of DAT trafficking directly impacts DA transport capacity and therefore dopaminergic neurotransmission. Here, we show that hDAT A559V is resistant to AMPH-induced cell surface redistribution. This unique trafficking phenotype is conferred by altered protein kinase C ? (PKC?) activity. Cells expressing hDAT A559V exhibit constitutively elevated PKC? activity, inhibition of which restores the AMPH-induced hDAT A559V membrane redistribution. Mechanistically, we link the inability of hDAT A559V to traffic in response to AMPH to the phosphorylation of the five most distal DAT N-terminal Ser. Mutation of these N-terminal Ser to Ala restores AMPH-induced trafficking. Furthermore, hDAT A559V has a diminished ability to transport AMPH, and therefore lacks AMPH-induced DA efflux. Pharmacological inhibition of PKC? or Ser to Ala substitution in the hDAT A559V background restores AMPH-induced DA efflux while promoting intracellular AMPH accumulation. Although hDAT A559V is a rare variant, it has been found in multiple probands with neuropsychiatric disorders associated with imbalances in DA neurotransmission, including ADHD, bipolar disorder, and now ASD. These findings provide valuable insight into a new cellular phenotype (altered hDAT trafficking) supporting dysregulated DA function in these disorders. They also provide a novel potential target (PKC?) for therapeutic interventions in individuals with ASD.
Project description:Amphetamine (AMPH) and its more potent enantiomer S(+)AMPH are psychostimulants used therapeutically to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and have significant abuse liability. AMPH is a dopamine transporter (DAT) substrate that inhibits dopamine (DA) uptake and is implicated in DA release. Furthermore, AMPH activates ionic currents through DAT that modify cell excitability presumably by modulating voltage-gated channel activity. Indeed, several studies suggest that monoamine transporter-induced depolarization opens voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels (CaV), which would constitute an additional AMPH mechanism of action. In this study we co-express human DAT (hDAT) with Ca(2+) channels that have decreasing sensitivity to membrane depolarization (CaV1.3, CaV1.2 or CaV2.2). Although S(+)AMPH is more potent than DA in transport-competition assays and inward-current generation, at saturating concentrations both substrates indirectly activate voltage-gated L-type Ca(2+) channels (CaV1.3 and CaV1.2) but not the N-type Ca(2+) channel (CaV2.2). Furthermore, the potency to achieve hDAT-CaV electrical coupling is dominated by the substrate affinity on hDAT, with negligible influence of L-type channel voltage sensitivity. In contrast, the maximal coupling-strength (defined as Ca(2+) signal change per unit hDAT current) is influenced by CaV voltage sensitivity, which is greater in CaV1.3- than in CaV1.2-expressing cells. Moreover, relative to DA, S(+)AMPH showed greater coupling-strength at concentrations that induced relatively small hDAT-mediated currents. Therefore S(+)AMPH is not only more potent than DA at inducing hDAT-mediated L-type Ca(2+) channel currents but is a better depolarizing agent since it produces tighter electrical coupling between hDAT-mediated depolarization and L-type Ca(2+) channel activation.
Project description:Abnormal dopaminergic transmission has been implicated as a risk determinant of HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders. HIV-1 Tat protein increases synaptic dopamine (DA) levels by directly inhibiting DA transporter (DAT) activity, ultimately leading to dopaminergic neuron damage. Through integrated computational modeling prediction and experimental validation, we identified that histidine547 on human DAT (hDAT) is critical for regulation of basal DA uptake and Tat-induced inhibition of DA transport. Compared to wild type hDAT (WT hDAT), mutation of histidine547 (H547A) displayed a 196% increase in DA uptake. Other substitutions of histidine547 showed that DA uptake was not altered in H547R but decreased by 99% in H547P and 60% in H547D, respectively. These mutants did not alter DAT surface expression or surface DAT binding sites. H547 mutants attenuated Tat-induced inhibition of DA transport observed in WT hDAT. H547A displays a differential sensitivity to PMA- or BIM-induced activation or inhibition of DAT function relative to WT hDAT, indicating a change in basal PKC activity in H547A. These findings demonstrate that histidine547 on hDAT plays a crucial role in stabilizing basal DA transport and Tat-DAT interaction. This study provides mechanistic insights into identifying targets on DAT for Tat binding and improving DAT-mediated dysfunction of DA transmission.
Project description:Human dopamine (DA) transporter (hDAT) regulates dopaminergic signaling in the central nervous system by maintaining the synaptic concentration of DA at physiological levels, upon reuptake of DA into presynaptic terminals. DA translocation involves the co-transport of two sodium ions and the channeling of a chloride ion, and it is achieved via alternating access between outward-facing (OF) and inward-facing states of DAT. hDAT is a target for addictive drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamine (AMPH), and therapeutic antidepressants. Our recent quantitative systems pharmacology study suggested that orphenadrine (ORPH), an anticholinergic agent and anti-Parkinson drug, might be repurposable as a DAT drug. Previous studies have shown that DAT-substrates like AMPH or -blockers like cocaine modulate the function of DAT in different ways. However, the molecular mechanisms of modulation remained elusive due to the lack of structural data on DAT. The newly resolved DAT structure from Drosophila melanogaster opens the way to a deeper understanding of the mechanism and time evolution of DAT-drug/ligand interactions. Using a combination of homology modeling, docking analysis, molecular dynamics simulations, and molecular biology experiments, we performed a comparative study of the binding properties of DA, AMPH, ORPH, and cocaine and their modulation of hDAT function. Simulations demonstrate that binding DA or AMPH drives a structural transition toward a functional form predisposed to translocate the ligand. In contrast, ORPH appears to inhibit DAT function by arresting it in the OF open conformation. The analysis shows that cocaine and ORPH competitively bind DAT, with the binding pose and affinity dependent on the conformational state of DAT. Further assays show that the effect of ORPH on DAT uptake and endocytosis is comparable to that of cocaine.
Project description:Electrophysiological and pharmacological studies of a cloned human dopamine transporter (hDAT) were undertaken to investigate the mechanisms of transporter function and the actions of drugs at this target. Using two-electrode voltage-clamp techniques with hDAT-expressing Xenopus laevis oocytes, we show that hDAT can be considered electrogenic by two criteria. (1) Uptake of hDAT substrates gives rise to a pharmacologically appropriate "transport-associated" current. (2) The velocity of DA uptake measured in oocytes clamped at various membrane potentials was voltage-dependent, increasing with hyperpolarization. Concurrent measurement of transport-associated current and substrate flux in individual oocytes revealed that charge movement during substrate translocation was greater than would be expected for a transport mechanism with fixed stoichiometry of 2 Na+ and 1 Cl- per DA+ molecule. In addition to the transport-associated current, hDAT also mediates a constitutive leak current, the voltage and ionic dependencies of which differ markedly from those of the transport-associated current. Ion substitution experiments suggest that alkali cations and protons are carried by the hDAT leak conductance. In contrast to the transport-associated functions, the leak does not require Na+ or Cl-, and DAT ligands readily interact with the transporter even in the absence of these ions. The currents that hDAT mediates provide a functional assay that readily distinguishes the modes of action of amphetamine-like "DA-releasing" drugs from cocaine-like translocation blockers. In addition, the voltage dependence of DA uptake suggests a mechanism through which presynaptic DA autoreceptor activation may accelerate the termination of dopaminergic neurotransmission in vivo.
Project description:HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) remains highly prevalent in HIV infected individuals and represents a special group of neuropathological disorders, which are associated with HIV-1 viral proteins, such as transactivator of transcription (Tat) protein. Cocaine abuse increases the incidence of HAND and exacerbates its severity by enhancing viral replication. Perturbation of dopaminergic transmission has been implicated as a risk factor of HAND. The presynaptic dopamine (DA) transporter (DAT) is essential for DA homeostasis and dopaminergic modulation of the brain function including cognition. Tat and cocaine synergistically elevate synaptic DA levels by acting directly on human DAT (hDAT), ultimately leading to dysregulation of DA transmission. Through integrated computational modeling and experimental validation, key residues have been identified in hDAT that play a critical role in Tat-induced inhibition of DAT and induce transporter conformational transitions. This review presents current information regarding neurological changes in DAT-mediated dopaminergic system associated with HIV infection, DAT-mediated adaptive responses to Tat as well as allosteric modulatory effects of novel compounds on hDAT. Understanding the molecular mechanisms by which Tat induces DAT-mediated dysregulation of DA system is of great clinical interest for identifying new targets for an early therapeutic intervention for HAND.
Project description:The human dopamine transporter (hDAT) regulates synaptic dopamine (DA) levels and is the site of action of abused and therapeutic drugs. Here we study the effect of a threonine residue (Thr62 in hDAT) that is highly conserved within a canonical phosphorylation site (RETW) in the juxtamembrane N-terminal region of monoamine transporters. In stably transfected human embryonic kidney 293T cells, expression of T62D-hDAT was reduced compared with hDAT or T62A-hDAT. T62D-hDAT displayed dramatically reduced [(3)H]dopamine up-take but exhibited a higher basal dopamine efflux compared with hDAT or T62A-hDAT, as determined by measurements of [(3)H]dopamine efflux and amperometry. The high constitutive efflux in T62D-hDAT precluded the measurement of amphetamine-stimulated [(3)H]dopamine efflux, but when dopamine was added internally into voltage-clamped T62D-hDAT cells, amphetamine-induced efflux comparable with hDAT was detected by amperometry. In accordance with findings that Zn(2+) can rescue reduced DA uptake in mutant transporters that are predominantly inward-facing, micromolar concentrations of Zn(2+) markedly potentiated [(3)H]dopamine uptake in T62D-hDAT and permitted the measurement of amphetamine-stimulated dopamine efflux. These results suggest that T62D-hDAT prefers an inward-facing conformation in the transition between inward- and outward-facing conformations. For T62A-hDAT, however, the measured 50% reduction in both [(3)H]dopamine uptake and [(3)H]dopamine efflux was consistent with a slowed transition between inward- and outward-facing conformations. The mechanism underlying the important functional role of Thr62 in hDAT activity suggested by these findings is examined in a structural context using dynamic simulations of a three-dimensional molecular model of DAT.
Project description:Computational evaluation of the energetics of substrate binding, transport, and release events of neurotransmitter transporters at the molecular level is a challenge, as the structural transitions of these membrane proteins involve coupled global and local changes that span time scales of several orders of magnitude, from nanoseconds to seconds. Here, we provide a quantitative assessment of the energetics of dopamine (DA) translocation through the human DA transporter (hDAT), using a combination of molecular modeling, simulation, and analysis tools. DA-binding and -unbinding events, which generally involve local configurational changes, are evaluated using free-energy perturbation or adaptive biasing force methods. The global transitions between the outward-facing state and the inward-facing state, on the other hand, require a dual-boost accelerated molecular dynamics simulation. We present results on DA-binding/unbinding energetics under different conditions, as well as the conformational energy landscape of hDAT in both DA-bound and -unbound states. The study provides a tractable method of approach for quantitative evaluation of substrate-binding energetics and efficient estimation of conformational energy landscape, in general.
Project description:Dopamine transporter (DAT) is the target of cocaine and HIV-1 transactivator of transcription (Tat) protein. Identifying allosteric modulatory molecules with potential attenuation of cocaine and Tat binding to DAT are of great scientific and clinical interest. We demonstrated that tyrosine 470 and 88 act as functional recognition residues in human DAT (hDAT) for Tat-induced inhibition of DA transport and transporter conformational transitions. Here we investigated the allosteric modulatory effects of two allosteric ligands, SRI-20041 and SRI-30827 on cocaine binding on wild type (WT) hDAT, Y470 H and Y88 F mutants. Effect of SRI-30827 on Tat-induced inhibition of [3H]WIN35,428 binding was also determined. Compared to a competitive DAT inhibitor indatraline, both SRI-compounds displayed a similar decrease (30%) in IC50 for inhibition of [3H]DA uptake by cocaine in WT hDAT. The addition of SRI-20041 or SRI-30827 following cocaine slowed the dissociation rate of [3H]WIN35,428 binding in WT hDAT relative to cocaine alone. Moreover, Y470H and Y88F hDAT potentiate the inhibitory effect of cocaine on DA uptake and attenuate the effects of SRI-compounds on cocaine-mediated dissociation rate. SRI-30827 attenuated Tat-induced inhibition of [3H]WIN35,428 binding. These observations demonstrate that tyrosine 470 and 88 are critical for allosteric modulatory effects of SRI-compounds on the interaction of cocaine with hDAT.