X-ray structures and mechanism of the human serotonin transporter.
ABSTRACT: The serotonin transporter (SERT) terminates serotonergic signalling through the sodium- and chloride-dependent reuptake of neurotransmitter into presynaptic neurons. SERT is a target for antidepressant and psychostimulant drugs, which block reuptake and prolong neurotransmitter signalling. Here we report X-ray crystallographic structures of human SERT at 3.15?Å resolution bound to the antidepressants (S)-citalopram or paroxetine. Antidepressants lock SERT in an outward-open conformation by lodging in the central binding site, located between transmembrane helices 1, 3, 6, 8 and 10, directly blocking serotonin binding. We further identify the location of an allosteric site in the complex as residing at the periphery of the extracellular vestibule, interposed between extracellular loops 4 and 6 and transmembrane helices 1, 6, 10 and 11. Occupancy of the allosteric site sterically hinders ligand unbinding from the central site, providing an explanation for the action of (S)-citalopram as an allosteric ligand. These structures define the mechanism of antidepressant action in SERT, and provide blueprints for future drug design.
Project description:The serotonin transporter (SERT) controls synaptic serotonin levels and is the primary target for antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (e.g. (S)-citalopram) and tricyclic antidepressants (e.g. clomipramine). In addition to a high affinity binding site, SERT possesses a low affinity allosteric site for antidepressants. Binding to the allosteric site impedes dissociation of antidepressants from the high affinity site, which may enhance antidepressant efficacy. Here we employ an induced fit docking/molecular dynamics protocol to identify the residues that may be involved in the allosteric binding in the extracellular vestibule located above the central substrate binding (S1) site. Indeed, mutagenesis of selected residues in the vestibule reduces the allosteric potency of (S)-citalopram and clomipramine. The identified site is further supported by the inhibitory effects of Zn(2+) binding in an engineered site and the covalent attachment of benzocaine-methanethiosulfonate to a cysteine introduced in the extracellular vestibule. The data provide a mechanistic explanation for the allosteric action of antidepressants at SERT and suggest that the role of the vestibule is evolutionarily conserved among neurotransmitter:sodium symporter proteins as a binding pocket for small molecule ligands.
Project description:The serotonin transporter (SERT) terminates serotonin signaling by rapid presynaptic reuptake. SERT activity is modulated by antidepressants, e.g., S-citalopram and imipramine, to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. SERT crystal structures reveal two S-citalopram binding pockets in the central binding (S1) site and the extracellular vestibule (S2 site). In this study, our combined in vitro and in silico analysis indicates that the bound S-citalopram or imipramine in S1 is allosterically coupled to the ligand binding to S2 through altering protein conformations. Remarkably, SERT inhibitor Lu AF60097, the first high-affinity S2-ligand reported and characterized here, allosterically couples the ligand binding to S1 through a similar mechanism. The SERT inhibition by Lu AF60097 is demonstrated by the potentiated imipramine binding and increased hippocampal serotonin level in rats. Together, we reveal a S1-S2 coupling mechanism that will facilitate rational design of high-affinity SERT allosteric inhibitors.
Project description:The serotonin transporter (SERT) regulates extracellular levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) in the brain by facilitating uptake of released 5-hydroxytryptamine into neuronal cells. SERT is the target for widely used antidepressant drugs, including imipramine, fluoxetine, and (S)-citalopram, which are competitive inhibitors of the transport function. Knowledge of the molecular details of the antidepressant binding sites in SERT has been limited due to lack of structural data on SERT. Here, we present a characterization of the (S)-citalopram binding pocket in human SERT (hSERT) using mutational and computational approaches. Comparative modeling and ligand docking reveal that (S)-citalopram fits into the hSERT substrate binding pocket, where (S)-citalopram can adopt a number of different binding orientations. We find, however, that only one of these binding modes is functionally relevant from studying the effects of 64 point mutations around the putative substrate binding site. The mutational mapping also identify novel hSERT residues that are crucial for (S)-citalopram binding. The model defines the molecular determinants for (S)-citalopram binding to hSERT and demonstrates that the antidepressant binding site overlaps with the substrate binding site.
Project description:The serotonin (5-HT) transporter (SERT) plays an important role in the termination of 5-HT-mediated neurotransmission by transporting 5-HT away from the synaptic cleft and into the presynaptic neuron. In addition, SERT is the main target for antidepressant drugs, including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The three-dimensional (3D) structure of SERT has not yet been determined, and little is known about the molecular mechanisms of substrate binding and transport, though such information is very important for the development of new antidepressant drugs. In this study, a homology model of SERT was constructed based on the 3D structure of a prokaryotic homologous leucine transporter (LeuT) (PDB id: 2A65). Eleven tryptamine derivates (including 5-HT) and the SSRI (S)-citalopram were docked into the putative substrate binding site, and two possible binding modes of the ligands were found. To study the conformational effect that ligand binding may have on SERT, two SERT-5-HT and two SERT-(S)-citalopram complexes, as well as the SERT apo structure, were embedded in POPC lipid bilayers and comparative molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were performed. Our results show that 5-HT in the SERT-5-HT(B) complex induced larger conformational changes in the cytoplasmic parts of the transmembrane helices of SERT than any of the other ligands. Based on these results, we suggest that the formation and breakage of ionic interactions with amino acids in transmembrane helices 6 and 8 and intracellular loop 1 may be of importance for substrate translocation.
Project description:Tricyclic antidepressants exert their pharmacological effect-inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine-by directly blocking neurotransmitter transporters (SERT, NET, and DAT, respectively) in the presynaptic membrane. The drug-binding site and the mechanism of this inhibition are poorly understood. We determined the crystal structure at 2.9 angstroms of the bacterial leucine transporter (LeuT), a homolog of SERT, NET, and DAT, in complex with leucine and the antidepressant desipramine. Desipramine binds at the inner end of the extracellular cavity of the transporter and is held in place by a hairpin loop and by a salt bridge. This binding site is separated from the leucine-binding site by the extracellular gate of the transporter. By directly locking the gate, desipramine prevents conformational changes and blocks substrate transport. Mutagenesis experiments on human SERT and DAT indicate that both the desipramine-binding site and its inhibition mechanism are probably conserved in the human neurotransmitter transporters.
Project description:Escitalopram appears to be a superior antidepressant to racemic citalopram. It has been hypothesized that binding of R-citalopram to the serotonin transporter (SERT) antagonizes escitalopram binding to and inhibition of the SERT, there by curtailing the elevation of extracellular 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HTExt), and hence anti-depressant efficacy. Further, it has been suggested that a putative allosteric binding site is important for binding of escitalopram to the primary, orthosteric, site, and for R-citalopram's inhibition here of.Primary: Investigate at the human (h)SERT, at clinical relevant doses, whether R-citalopram antagonizes escitalopram-induced 5-HTExt elevation. Secondary: Investigate whether abolishing the putative allosteric site affects escitalopram-induced 5-HTExt elevation and/or modulates the effect of R-citalopram.Recombinant generation of hSERT transgenic mice; in vivo microdialysis; SERT binding; pharmacokinetics; 5-HT sensitive behaviors (tail suspension, marble burying).We generated mice expressing either the wild-type human SERT (hSERT(WT)) or hSERT carrying amino acid substitutions (A505V, L506F, I507L, S574T and I575T) collectively abolishing the putative allosteric site (hSERT(ALI/VFL+SI/TT)). One mg/kg escitalopram yielded clinical relevant plasma levels and brain levels consistent with therapeutic SERT occupancy. The hSERT mice showed normal basal 5-HTExt levels. Escitalopram-induced 5-HTExt elevation was not decreased by R-citalopram co-treatment and was unaffected by loss of the allosteric site. The behavioral effects of the clinically relevant escitalopram dose were small and tended to be enhanced by R-citalopram co-administration.We find no evidence that R-citalopram directly antagonizes escitalopram or that the putative allosteric site is important for hSERT inhibition by escitalopram.
Project description:The serotonin transporter (SERT) is the primary target for antidepressant drugs. The existence of a high affinity primary orthosteric binding site (S1) and a low affinity secondary site (S2) has been described, and their relation to antidepressant pharmacology has been debated. Herein, structural modifications to the N, 4, 5, and 4' positions of (±)citalopram (1) are reported. All of the analogues were SERT-selective and demonstrated that steric bulk was tolerated at the SERT S1 site, including two dimeric ligands (15 and 51). In addition, eight analogues were identified with similar potencies to S-1 for decreasing the dissociation of [(3)H]S-1 from the S1 site via allosteric modulation at S2. Both dimeric compounds had similar affinities for the SERT S1 site (Ki = 19.7 and 30.2 nM, respectively), whereas only the N-substituted analogue, 51, was as effective as S-1 in allosterically modulating the binding of [(3)H]S-1 via S2.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The dopamine (DAT), noradrenalin (NET) and serotonin (SERT) transporters are molecular targets for different classes of psychotropic drugs. Cocaine and the SSRI (S)-citalopram block neurotransmitter reuptake competitively, but while cocaine is a non-selective reuptake inhibitor, (S)-citalopram is a selective SERT inhibitor. FINDINGS: Here we present comparisons of the binding sites and the electrostatic potential surfaces (EPS) of DAT, NET and SERT homology models based on two different LeuTAa templates; with a substrate (leucine) in an occluded conformation (PDB id 2a65), and with an inhibitor (tryptophan) in an open-to-out conformation (PDB id 3f3a). In the occluded homology models, two conserved aromatic amino acids (tyrosine and phenylalanine) formed a gate between the putative binding pockets, and this contact was interrupted in the open to out conformation. The EPS of DAT and NET were generally negative in the vestibular area, whereas the EPS of the vestibular area of SERT was more neutral. CONCLUSIONS: The findings presented here contribute as an update on the structure of the binding sites of DAT, NET and SERT. The updated models, which have larger ligand binding site areas than models based on other templates, may serve as improved tools for virtual ligand screening.
Project description:The serotonin transporter (SERT) regulates extracellular levels of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5HT) in the brain by transporting 5HT into neurons and glial cells. The human SERT (hSERT) is the primary target for drugs used in the treatment of emotional disorders, including depression. hSERT belongs to the solute carrier 6 family that includes a bacterial leucine transporter (LeuT), for which a high resolution crystal structure has become available. LeuT has proved to be an excellent model for human transporters and has advanced the understanding of solute carrier 6 transporter structure-function relationships. However, the precise structural mechanism by which antidepressants inhibit hSERT and the location of their binding pockets are still elusive. We have identified a residue (Ser-438) located within the 5HT-binding pocket in hSERT to be a critical determinant for the potency of several antidepressants, including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram and the tricyclic antidepressants imipramine, clomipramine, and amitriptyline. A conservative mutation of Ser-438 to threonine (S438T) selectively increased the K(i) values for these antidepressants up to 175-fold. The effects of introducing a protein methyl group into the 5HT-binding pocket by S438T were absent or reduced for analogs of these antidepressants lacking a single methyl group. This suggests that these antidepressants interact directly with Ser-438 during binding to hSERT, implying an overlapping localization of substrate- and inhibitor-binding sites in hSERT suggesting that antidepressants function by a mechanism that involves direct occlusion of the 5HT-binding site.
Project description:Serotonin [i.e., 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)]-targeted antidepressants are in wide use for the treatment of mood disorders, although many patients do not show a response or experience unpleasant side effects. Psychostimulants, such as cocaine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (i.e., "ecstasy"), also impact 5-HT signaling. To help dissect the contribution of 5-HT signaling to the actions of these and other agents, we developed transgenic mice in which high-affinity recognition of multiple antidepressants and cocaine is eliminated. Our animals possess a modified copy of the 5-HT transporter (i.e., SERT, slc6a4) that bears a single amino acid substitution, I172M, proximal to the 5-HT binding site. Although the M172 substitution does not impact the recognition of 5-HT, this mutation disrupts high-affinity binding of many competitive antagonists in transfected cells. Here, we demonstrate that, in M172 knock-in mice, basal SERT protein levels, 5-HT transport rates, and 5-HT levels are normal. However, SERT M172 mice display a substantial loss of sensitivity to the selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitors fluoxetine and citalopram, as well as to cocaine. Through a series of biochemical, electrophysiological, and behavioral assays, we demonstrate the unique properties of this model and establish directly that SERT is the sole protein responsible for selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitor-mediated alterations in 5-HT clearance, in 5-HT1A autoreceptor modulation of raphe neuron firing, and in behaviors used to predict the utility of antidepressants.