Amphetamine activates Rho GTPase signaling to mediate dopamine transporter internalization and acute behavioral effects of amphetamine.
ABSTRACT: Acute amphetamine (AMPH) exposure elevates extracellular dopamine through a variety of mechanisms that include inhibition of dopamine reuptake, depletion of vesicular stores, and facilitation of dopamine efflux across the plasma membrane. Recent work has shown that the DAT substrate AMPH, unlike cocaine and other nontransported blockers, can also stimulate endocytosis of the plasma membrane dopamine transporter (DAT). Here, we show that when AMPH enters the cytoplasm it rapidly stimulates DAT internalization through a dynamin-dependent, clathrin-independent process. This effect, which can be observed in transfected cells, cultured dopamine neurons, and midbrain slices, is mediated by activation of the small GTPase RhoA. Inhibition of RhoA activity with C3 exotoxin or a dominant-negative RhoA blocks AMPH-induced DAT internalization. These actions depend on AMPH entry into the cell and are blocked by the DAT inhibitor cocaine. AMPH also stimulates cAMP accumulation and PKA-dependent inactivation of RhoA, thus providing a mechanism whereby PKA- and RhoA-dependent signaling pathways can interact to regulate the timing and robustness of AMPH's effects on DAT internalization. Consistent with this model, the activation of D1/D5 receptors that couple to PKA in dopamine neurons antagonizes RhoA activation, DAT internalization, and hyperlocomotion observed in mice after AMPH treatment. These observations support the existence of an unanticipated intracellular target that mediates the effects of AMPH on RhoA and cAMP signaling and suggest new pathways to target to disrupt AMPH action.
Project description:Dopamine transporter (DAT) levels vary across brain regions and individuals, and are altered by drug history and disease states; however, the impact of altered DAT expression on psychostimulant effects in brain has not been systematically explored. Using fast scan cyclic voltammetry, we measured the effects of elevated DAT levels on presynaptic dopamine parameters as well as the uptake inhibition potency of the blockers cocaine and methylphenidate (MPH) and the releaser amphetamine (AMPH) in the nucleus accumbens core. Here we found that increases in DAT levels, resulting from either genetic overexpression or MPH self-administration, caused markedly increased maximal rates of uptake (Vmax) that were positively correlated with the uptake inhibition potency of AMPH and MPH, but not cocaine. AMPH and MPH were particularly sensitive to DAT changes, with a 100% increase in Vmax resulting in a 200% increase in potency. The relationship between Vmax and MPH potency was the same as that for AMPH, but was different from that for cocaine, indicating that MPH more closely resembles a releaser with regard to uptake inhibition. Conversely, the effects of MPH on stimulated dopamine release were similar to those of cocaine, with inverted U-shaped increases in release over a concentration-response curve. This was strikingly different from the release profile of AMPH, which showed only reductions at high concentrations, indicating that MPH is not a pure releaser. These data indicate that although MPH is a DAT blocker, its uptake-inhibitory actions are affected by DAT changes in a similar manner to releasers. Together, these data show that fluctuations in DAT levels alter the potency of releasers and MPH but not blockers and suggest an integral role of the DAT in the addictive potential of AMPH and related compounds.
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: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: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:Amphetamines (AMPHs) are globally abused. With no effective treatment for AMPH addiction to date, there is urgent need for the identification of druggable targets that mediate the reinforcing action of this stimulant class. AMPH-stimulated dopamine efflux is modulated by protein kinase C (PKC) activation. Inhibition of PKC reduces AMPH-stimulated dopamine efflux and locomotor activity. The only known CNS-permeant PKC inhibitor is the selective estrogen receptor modulator tamoxifen. In this study, we demonstrate that a tamoxifen analog, 6c, which more potently inhibits PKC than tamoxifen but lacks affinity for the estrogen receptor, reduces AMPH-stimulated increases in extracellular dopamine and reinforcement-related behavior. In rat striatal synaptosomes, 6c was almost fivefold more potent at inhibiting AMPH-stimulated dopamine efflux than [3H]dopamine uptake through the dopamine transporter (DAT). The compound did not compete with [3H]WIN 35,428 binding or affect surface DAT levels. Using microdialysis, direct accumbal administration of 1??M 6c reduced dopamine overflow in freely moving rats. Using LC-MS, we demonstrate that 6c is CNS-permeant. Systemic treatment of rats with 6?mg/kg 6c either simultaneously or 18?h prior to systemic AMPH administration reduced both AMPH-stimulated dopamine overflow and AMPH-induced locomotor effects. Finally, 18?h pretreatment of rats with 6?mg/kg 6c s.c. reduces AMPH-self administration but not food self-administration. These results demonstrate the utility of tamoxifen analogs in reducing AMPH effects on dopamine and reinforcement-related behaviors and suggest a new avenue of development for therapeutics to reduce AMPH abuse.
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: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.
Project description:In vivo brain microdialysis was used in conjunction with "reverse-dialysis" of the dopamine-transporter (DAT) blockers GBR 12909 and methylphenidate (MPH) to observe the temporal course of their effects on d-amphetamine (d-AMPH)-induced increases in dopamine (DA) efflux in the rat nucleus accumbens (NAc). Reverse-dialysis of d-AMPH (10 μM) for 30 min resulted in a 2000-2500% increase in DA efflux. Pretreatment with GBR 12909 or MPH (20, 100 μM) for 90 min, which on their own elevated DA levels ∼2000-3000% above baseline values, dose-dependently occluded d-AMPH-evoked DA efflux. In GBR 12909-treated rats, basal levels of DA remained dramatically elevated at 24, 48, and 72 h following treatment, while levels in the MPH group returned back toward pretreatment values. Despite this contrast in basal DA efflux, the magnitudes of DA efflux evoked by a second exposure to d-AMPH were comparable in the two treatment groups. Together, these data support the development of DAT blockers as potential pharmacological interventions for the control of psychostimulant abuse. Furthermore, our data implicate DAT as a common site of action for both GBR 12909 and MPH, as well as d-AMPH.
Project description:There are ? 1.6 million people who meet the criteria for cocaine addiction in the United States, and there are currently no FDA-approved pharmacotherapies. Amphetamine-based dopamine-releasing drugs have shown efficacy in reducing the motivation to self-administer cocaine and reducing intake in animals and humans. It is hypothesized that amphetamine acts as a replacement therapy for cocaine through elevation of extracellular dopamine levels. Using voltammetry in brain slices, we tested the ability of a single amphetamine infusion in vivo to modulate dopamine release, uptake kinetics, and cocaine potency in cocaine-naive animals and after a history of cocaine self-administration (1.5 mg/kg/infusion, fixed-ratio 1, 40 injections/day × 5 days). Dopamine kinetics were measured 1 and 24 h after amphetamine infusion (0.56 mg/kg, i.v.). Following cocaine self-administration, dopamine release, maximal rate of uptake (Vmax), and membrane-associated dopamine transporter (DAT) levels were reduced, and the DAT was less sensitive to cocaine. A single amphetamine infusion reduced Vmax and membrane DAT levels in cocaine-naive animals, but fully restored all aspects of dopamine terminal function in cocaine self-administering animals. Here, for the first time, we demonstrate pharmacologically induced, immediate rescue of deficits in dopamine nerve-terminal function in animals with a history of high-dose cocaine self-administration. This observation supports the notion that the DAT expression and function can be modulated on a rapid timescale and also suggests that the pharmacotherapeutic actions of amphetamine for cocaine addiction go beyond that of replacement therapy.