SLC6A3 coding variant Ala559Val found in two autism probands alters dopamine transporter function and trafficking.
ABSTRACT: 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:Phosphatidylinositol (4,5)-bisphosphate (PIP2) regulates the function of ion channels and transporters. Here, we demonstrate that PIP2 directly binds the human dopamine (DA) transporter (hDAT), a key regulator of DA homeostasis and a target of the psychostimulant amphetamine (AMPH). This binding occurs through electrostatic interactions with positively charged hDAT N-terminal residues and is shown to facilitate AMPH-induced, DAT-mediated DA efflux and the psychomotor properties of AMPH. Substitution of these residues with uncharged amino acids reduces hDAT-PIP2 interactions and AMPH-induced DA efflux without altering the hDAT physiological function of DA uptake. We evaluated the significance of this interaction in vivo using locomotion as a behavioral assay in Drosophila melanogaster. Expression of mutated hDAT with reduced PIP2 interaction in Drosophila DA neurons impairs AMPH-induced locomotion without altering basal locomotion. We present what is to our knowledge the first demonstration of how PIP2 interactions with a membrane protein can regulate the behaviors of complex organisms.
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: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: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:Despite the critical role of the presynaptic dopamine (DA) transporter (DAT, SLC6A3) in DA clearance and psychostimulant responses, evidence that DAT dysfunction supports risk for mental illness is indirect. Recently, we identified a rare, nonsynonymous Slc6a3 variant that produces the DAT substitution Ala559Val in two male siblings who share a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with other studies identifying the variant in subjects with bipolar disorder (BPD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Previously, using transfected cell studies, we observed that although DAT Val559 displays normal total and surface DAT protein levels, and normal DA recognition and uptake, the variant transporter exhibits anomalous DA efflux (ADE) and lacks capacity for amphetamine (AMPH)-stimulated DA release. To pursue the significance of these findings in vivo, we engineered DAT Val559 knock-in mice, and here we demonstrate in this model the presence of elevated extracellular DA levels, altered somatodendritic and presynaptic D2 DA receptor (D2R) function, a blunted ability of DA terminals to support depolarization and AMPH-evoked DA release, and disruptions in basal and psychostimulant-evoked locomotor behavior. Together, our studies demonstrate an in vivo functional impact of the DAT Val559 variant, providing support for the ability of DAT dysfunction to impact risk for mental illness.
Project description:Drugs of abuse, including cocaine, amphetamine (AMPH), and heroin, elevate extracellular dopamine (DA) levels in the brain, thereby altering the activity/plasticity of reward circuits and precipitating addiction. The physiological release of DA occurs through the calcium-dependent fusion of a synaptic vesicle with the plasma membrane. Extracellular DA is cleared by uptake through the Na+/Cl- -dependent DA transporter (DAT). In contrast, the substrate AMPH induces nonvesicular release of DA mediated by DAT. Extracellular AMPH is generally believed to trigger DA efflux through DAT by facilitating exchange for cytosolic DA. Here, in outside-out patches from heterologous cells stably expressing DAT or from dopaminergic neurons, by using ionic conditions in the patch pipette that mimic those produced by AMPH stimulation, we report that AMPH causes DAT-mediated DA efflux by two independent mechanisms: (i) a slow process consistent with an exchange mechanism and (ii) a process that results in rapid (millisecond) bursts of DA efflux through a channel-like mode of DAT. Because channel-like release of DA induced by AMPH is rapid and contains a large number of DA molecules, with a single burst of DA on par with a quantum of DA from exocytotic release of a vesicle, this burst mode of release may play a role in the synaptic actions and psychostimulant properties of AMPH and related compounds. Unlike AMPH, the endogenous substrate DA, when present on both sides of the plasma membrane, inhibits this channel-like activity, thereby suggesting that the DAT channel-like mode cannot accumulate DA against a concentration gradient.
Project description:The psychostimulants d-amphetamine (AMPH) and methamphetamine (METH) release excess dopamine (DA) into the synaptic clefts of dopaminergic neurons. Abnormal DA release is thought to occur by reverse transport through the DA transporter (DAT), and it is believed to underlie the severe behavioral effects of these drugs. Here we compare structurally similar AMPH and METH on DAT function in a heterologous expression system and in an animal model. In the in vitro expression system, DAT-mediated whole-cell currents were greater for METH stimulation than for AMPH. At the same voltage and concentration, METH released five times more DA than AMPH and did so at physiological membrane potentials. At maximally effective concentrations, METH released twice as much [Ca(2+)](i) from internal stores compared with AMPH. [Ca(2+)](i) responses to both drugs were independent of membrane voltage but inhibited by DAT antagonists. Intact phosphorylation sites in the N-terminal domain of DAT were required for the AMPH- and METH-induced increase in [Ca(2+)](i) and for the enhanced effects of METH on [Ca(2+)](i) elevation. Calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and protein kinase C inhibitors alone or in combination also blocked AMPH- or METH-induced Ca(2+) responses. Finally, in the rat nucleus accumbens, in vivo voltammetry showed that systemic application of METH inhibited DAT-mediated DA clearance more efficiently than AMPH, resulting in excess external DA. Together these data demonstrate that METH has a stronger effect on DAT-mediated cell physiology than AMPH, which may contribute to the euphoric and addictive properties of METH compared with AMPH.
Project description:The dopamine transporter (DAT) is the primary molecular target responsible for the rewarding properties of the psychostimulants amphetamine (AMPH) and cocaine. AMPH increases extracellular dopamine (DA) by promoting its nonexocytotic release via DAT-mediated efflux. Previous studies in heterologous cells have shown that phosphorylation of the amino terminus of DAT is required for AMPH-induced DA efflux but not for DA uptake. However, the identity of many of the modulatory proteins and the molecular mechanisms that coordinate efflux and the ensuing behavioral effects remain poorly defined. Here, we establish a robust assay for AMPH-induced hyperlocomotion in Drosophila melanogaster larvae. Using a variety of genetic and pharmacological approaches, we demonstrate that this behavioral response is dependent on DA and on DAT and its phosphorylation. We also show that methylphenidate (MPH), which competitively inhibits DA uptake but does not induce DAT-mediated DA efflux, also leads to DAT-dependent hyperlocomotion, but this response is independent of DAT phosphorylation. Moreover, we demonstrate that the membrane raft protein Flotillin-1 is required for AMPH-induced, but not MPH-induced, hyperlocomotion. These results are the first evidence of a role for a raft protein in an AMPH-mediated behavior. Thus, using our assay we are able to translate molecular and cellular findings to a behavioral level and to differentiate in vivo the distinct mechanisms of two psychostimulants.
Project description:Amphetamine (AMPH) elicits its behavioral effects by acting on the dopamine (DA) transporter (DAT) to induce DA efflux into the synaptic cleft. We previously demonstrated that a human DAT construct in which the first 22 amino acids were truncated was not phosphorylated by activation of protein kinase C, in contrast to wild-type (WT) DAT, which was phosphorylated. Nonetheless, in all functions tested to date, which include uptake, inhibitor binding, oligomerization, and redistribution away from the cell surface in response to protein kinase C activation, the truncated DAT was indistinguishable from the full-length WT DAT. Here, however, we show that in HEK-293 cells stably expressing an N-terminal-truncated DAT (del-22 DAT), AMPH-induced DA efflux is reduced by approximately 80%, whether measured by superfusion of a population of cells or by amperometry combined with the patch-clamp technique in the whole cell configuration. We further demonstrate in a full-length DAT construct that simultaneous mutation of the five N-terminal serine residues to alanine (S/A) produces the same phenotype as del-22-normal uptake but dramatically impaired efflux. In contrast, simultaneous mutation of these same five serines to aspartate (S/D) to simulate phosphorylation results in normal AMPH-induced DA efflux and uptake. In the S/A background, the single mutation to Asp of residue 7 or residue 12 restored a significant fraction of WT efflux, whereas mutation to Asp of residues 2, 4, or 13 was without significant effect on efflux. We propose that phosphorylation of one or more serines in the N-terminus of human DAT, most likely Ser7 or Ser12, is essential for AMPH-induced DAT-mediated DA efflux. Quite surprisingly, N-terminal phosphorylation shifts DAT from a "reluctant" state to a "willing" state for AMPH-induced DA efflux, without affecting inward transport. These data raise the therapeutic possibility of interfering selectively with AMPH-induced DA efflux without altering physiological DA uptake.