Conformational dynamics of the human serotonin transporter during substrate and drug binding.
ABSTRACT: The serotonin transporter (SERT), a member of the neurotransmitter:sodium symporter family, is responsible for termination of serotonergic signaling by re-uptake of serotonin (5-HT) into the presynaptic neuron. Its key role in synaptic transmission makes it a major drug target, e.g. for the treatment of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. Here, we apply hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry to probe the conformational dynamics of human SERT in the absence and presence of known substrates and targeted drugs. Our results reveal significant changes in dynamics in regions TM1, EL3, EL4, and TM12 upon binding co-transported ions (Na+/K+) and ligand-mediated changes in TM1, EL3 and EL4 upon binding 5-HT, the drugs S-citalopram, cocaine and ibogaine. Our results provide a comprehensive direct view of the conformational response of SERT upon binding both biologically relevant substrate/ions and ligands of pharmaceutical interest, thus advancing our understanding of the structure-function relationship in SERT.
Project description:The serotonin transporter (SERT), a member of the neurotransmitter:sodium symporter family, is responsible for termination of serotonergic signaling by re-uptake of serotonin (5-HT) into the presynaptic neuron. Its key role in synaptic transmission makes it a major drug target, e.g. for the treatment of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. Here, we apply hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry to probe the conformational dynamics of human SERT in the absence and presence of known substrates and targeted drugs. Our results reveal significant changes in dynamics in regions TM1, EL3, EL4, and TM12 upon binding co-transported ions (Na+/K+) and ligand-mediated changes in TM1, EL3 and EL4 upon binding 5-HT, the drugs S-citalopram, cocaine and ibogaine. Our results provide a comprehensive direct view of the conformational response of SERT upon binding both biologically relevant substrate/ions and ligands of pharmaceutical interest, thus advancing our understanding of the structure-function relationship in SERT.
Project description:Ibogaine, a hallucinogenic alkaloid proposed as a treatment for opiate withdrawal, has been shown to inhibit serotonin transporter (SERT) noncompetitively, in contrast to all other known inhibitors, which are competitive with substrate. Ibogaine binding to SERT increases accessibility in the permeation pathway connecting the substrate-binding site with the cytoplasm. Because of the structural similarity between ibogaine and serotonin, it had been suggested that ibogaine binds to the substrate site of SERT. The results presented here show that ibogaine binds to a distinct site, accessible from the cell exterior, to inhibit both serotonin transport and serotonin-induced ionic currents. Ibogaine noncompetitively inhibited transport by both SERT and the homologous dopamine transporter (DAT). Ibogaine blocked substrate-induced currents also in DAT and increased accessibility of the DAT cytoplasmic permeation pathway. When present on the cell exterior, ibogaine inhibited SERT substrate-induced currents, but not when it was introduced into the cytoplasm through the patch electrode. Similar to noncompetitive transport inhibition, the current block was not reversed by increasing substrate concentration. The kinetics of inhibitor binding and dissociation, as determined by their effect on SERT currents, indicated that ibogaine does not inhibit by forming a long-lived complex with SERT, but rather binds directly to the transporter in an inward-open conformation. A kinetic model for transport describing the noncompetitive action of ibogaine and the competitive action of cocaine accounts well for the results of the present study.
Project description:The serotonin transporter (SERT) regulates neurotransmitter homeostasis through the sodium- and chloride-dependent recycling of serotonin into presynaptic neurons1-3. Major depression and anxiety disorders are treated using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors-small molecules that competitively block substrate binding and thereby prolong neurotransmitter action2,4. The dopamine and noradrenaline transporters, together with SERT, are members of the neurotransmitter sodium symporter (NSS) family. The transport activities of NSSs can be inhibited or modulated by cocaine and amphetamines2,3, and genetic variants of NSSs are associated with several neuropsychiatric disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and bipolar disorder2,5. Studies of bacterial NSS homologues-including LeuT-have shown how their transmembrane helices (TMs) undergo conformational changes during the transport cycle, exposing a central binding site to either side of the membrane1,6-12. However, the conformational changes associated with transport in NSSs remain unknown. To elucidate structure-based mechanisms for transport in SERT we investigated its complexes with ibogaine, a hallucinogenic natural product with psychoactive and anti-addictive properties13,14. Notably, ibogaine is a non-competitive inhibitor of transport but displays competitive binding towards selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors15,16. Here we report cryo-electron microscopy structures of SERT-ibogaine complexes captured in outward-open, occluded and inward-open conformations. Ibogaine binds to the central binding site, and closure of the extracellular gate largely involves movements of TMs 1b and 6a. Opening of the intracellular gate involves a hinge-like movement of TM1a and the partial unwinding of TM5, which together create a permeation pathway that enables substrate and ion diffusion to the cytoplasm. These structures define the structural rearrangements that occur from the outward-open to inward-open conformations, and provide insight into the mechanism of neurotransmitter transport and ibogaine inhibition.
Project description:The serotonin transporter (SERT) terminates serotonergic neurotransmission by performing reuptake of released serotonin, and SERT is the primary target for antidepressants. SERT mediates the reuptake of serotonin through an alternating access mechanism, implying that a central substrate site is connected to both sides of the membrane by permeation pathways, of which only one is accessible at a time. The coordinated conformational changes in SERT associated with substrate translocation are not fully understood. Here, we have identified a Leu to Glu mutation at position 406 (L406E) in the extracellular loop 4 (EL4) of human SERT, which induced a remarkable gain-of-potency (up to >40-fold) for a range of SERT inhibitors. The effects were highly specific for L406E relative to six other mutations in the same position, including the closely related L406D mutation, showing that the effects induced by L406E are not simply charge-related effects. Leu(406) is located >10 Å from the central inhibitor binding site indicating that the mutation affects inhibitor binding in an indirect manner. We found that L406E decreased accessibility to a residue in the cytoplasmic pathway. The shift in equilibrium to favor a more outward-facing conformation of SERT can explain the reduced turnover rate and increased association rate of inhibitor binding we found for L406E. Together, our findings show that EL4 allosterically can modulate inhibitor binding within the central binding site, and substantiates that EL4 has an important role in controlling the conformational equilibrium of human SERT.
Project description:The plasma membrane serotonin (5-HT) transporter (SERT, SLC6A4) clears 5-HT after release at nerve termini and is targeted by both antidepressant medications and psychostimulants (e.g. MDMA, cocaine). Homology modeling of human SERT (hSERT), based on high resolution structures of the microbial SLC6 family member LeuT(Aa), along with biochemical studies of wild type and mutant transporters, predicts transmembrane (TM) domains 1, 3, 6, and 8 comprise the 5-HT-binding pocket. We utilized the substituted cysteine accessibility method along with surface and site-specific biotinylation to probe TM6 for aqueous accessibility and differential interactions with 5-HT and psychostimulants. Our results are consistent with TM6 being composed of an aqueous-accessible, alpha-helical extracellular domain (TM6a) that is separated by a central, unwound section from a cytoplasmically localized domain (TM6b) with limited aqueous accessibility. The substitution G338C appears to lock hSERT in an outward-facing conformation that, although accessible to aminoethylmethanethiosulfonate-biotin, 5-HT, and citalopram, is incapable of inward 5-HT transport. Transport of 5-HT by G338C can be partially restored by the TM1 mutation Y95F. With regard to methanethiosulfonate (MTS) inactivation of uptake, TM6a Cys mutants demonstrate Na(+)-dependent [2-(trimethylammonium)ethyl]-MTS sensitivity. Studies with the centrally located substitution S336C reveal features of a common binding pocket for 5-HT and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). Interestingly, the substitution I333C reveals an MDMA-induced conformation not observed with 5-HT. In the context of prior studies on TM1, our findings document shared and unique features of TM6 contributing to hSERT aqueous accessibility, ligand recognition, and conformational dynamics.
Project description:The human serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) transporter (hSERT) is responsible for the reuptake of 5-HT following synaptic release, as well as for import of the biogenic amine into several non-5-HT synthesizing cells including platelets. The antidepressant citalopram blocks SERT and thereby inhibits the transport of 5-HT. To identify key residues establishing high-affinity citalopram binding, we have built a comparative model of hSERT and Drosophila melanogaster SERT (dSERT) based on the Aquifex aeolicus leucine transporter (LeuT(Aa)) crystal structure. In this study, citalopram has been docked into the homology model of hSERT and dSERT using RosettaLigand. Our models reproduce the differential binding affinities for the R- and S-isomers of citalopram in hSERT and the impact of several hSERT mutants. Species-selective binding affinities for hSERT and dSERT also can be reproduced. Interestingly, the model predicts a hydrogen bond between E444 in transmembrane domain 8 (TM8) and Y95 in TM1 that places Y95 in a downward position, thereby removing Y95 from a direct interaction with S-citalopram. Mutation of E444D results in a 10-fold reduced binding affinity for S-citalopram, supporting the hypothesis that Y95 and E444 form a stabilizing interaction in the S-citalopram/hSERT complex.
Project description:Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a nuclear receptor that controls xenobiotic detoxification via induction of cytochrome P450 1A1 (CYP1A1) and regulates immune responses in the intestine. Metabolites of L-tryptophan activate AhR, which confers protection against intestinal inflammation. We tested the hypothesis that serotonin (5-HT) is an endogenous activator of AhR in intestinal epithelial cells. Treatment of Caco-2 monolayers with 5-HT induced CYP1A1 mRNA in a time- and concentration-dependent manner and also stimulated CYP1A1 activity. CYP1A1 induction by 5-HT was dependent upon uptake via serotonin transporter (SERT). Antagonism of AhR and knockdown of AhR and its binding partner aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator (ARNT) attenuated CYP1A1 induction by 5-HT. Activation of AhR was evident by its nuclear translocation after 5-HT treatment and by induction of an AhR-responsive luciferase reporter. In vivo studies showed a dramatic decrease in CYP1A1 expression and other AhR target genes in SERT KO ileal mucosa by microarray analysis. These results suggest that intracellular accumulation of 5-HT via SERT induces CYP1A1 expression via AhR in intestinal epithelial cells, and SERT deficiency in vivo impairs activation of AhR. Our studies provide a novel link between the serotonergic and AhR pathways which has implications in xenobiotic metabolism and intestinal inflammation.
Project description:A subpopulation of raphe 5-HT neurons expresses the vesicular glutamate transporter VGLUT3 with the co-release of glutamate and serotonin proposed to play a pivotal role in encoding reward- and anxiety-related behaviors. Serotonin axons are identifiable by immunolabeling of either serotonin (5-HT) or the plasma membrane 5-HT transporter (SERT), with SERT labeling demonstrated to be only partially overlapping with 5-HT staining. Studies investigating the colocalization or segregation of VGLUT3 within SERT or 5-HT immunolabeled boutons have led to inconsistent results. Therefore, we combined immunohistochemistry, high resolution confocal imaging, and 3D-reconstruction techniques to map and quantify the distribution of VGLUT3 immunoreactive boutons within 5-HT vs. SERT-positive axons in various regions of the mouse forebrain, including the prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens core and shell, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, dorsal striatum, lateral septum, basolateral and central amygdala, and hippocampus. Our results demonstrate that about 90% of 5-HT boutons are colocalized with SERT in almost all the brain regions studied, which therefore reveals that VGLUT3 and SERT do not segregate. However, in the posterior part of the NAC shell, we confirmed the presence of a subtype of 5-HT immunoreactive axons that lack the SERT. Interestingly, about 90% of the 5-HT/VGLUT3 boutons were labeled for the SERT in this region, suggesting that VGLUT3 is preferentially located in SERT immunoreactive 5-HT boutons. This work demonstrates that VGLUT3 and SERT cannot be used as specific markers to classify the different subtypes of 5-HT axons.
Project description:Biomarker, neuroimaging, and genetic findings implicate the serotonin transporter (SERT) in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Previously, we found that adult male mice expressing the autism-associated SERT Ala56 variant have altered central serotonin (5-HT) system function, as well as elevated peripheral blood 5-HT levels. Early in gestation, before midbrain 5-HT projections have reached the cortex, peripheral sources supply 5-HT to the forebrain, suggesting that altered maternal or placenta 5-HT system function could impact the developing embryo. We therefore used different combinations of maternal and embryo SERT Ala56 genotypes to examine effects on blood, placenta and embryo serotonin levels and neurodevelopment at embryonic day E14.5, when peripheral sources of 5-HT predominate, and E18.5, when midbrain 5-HT projections have reached the forebrain. Maternal SERT Ala56 genotype was associated with decreased placenta and embryonic forebrain 5-HT levels at E14.5. Low 5-HT in the placenta persisted, but forebrain levels normalized by E18.5. Maternal SERT Ala56 genotype effects on forebrain 5-HT levels were accompanied by a broadening of 5-HT-sensitive thalamocortical axon projections. In contrast, no effect of embryo genotype was seen in concepti from heterozygous dams. Blood 5-HT levels were dynamic across pregnancy and were increased in SERT Ala56 dams at E14.5. Placenta RNA sequencing data at E14.5 indicated substantial impact of maternal SERT Ala56 genotype, with alterations in immune and metabolic-related pathways. Collectively, these findings indicate that maternal SERT function impacts offspring placental 5-HT levels, forebrain 5-HT levels, and neurodevelopment.
Project description:Structure determination of mammalian integral membrane proteins is challenging due to their instability upon detergent solubilisation and purification. Recent successes in the structure determination of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) resulted from the development of GPCR-specific protein engineering strategies. One of these, conformational thermostabilisation, could in theory facilitate structure determination of other membrane proteins by improving their tolerance to detergents and locking them in a specific conformation. We have therefore used this approach on the cocaine-sensitive rat serotonin transporter (SERT). Out of a panel of 554 point mutants throughout SERT, 10 were found to improve its thermostability. The most stabilising mutations were combined to make the thermostabilised mutants SAH6 (L99A+G278A+A505L) and SAH7 (L405A+P499A+A505L) that were more stable than SERT by 18°C and 16°C, respectively. Inhibitor binding assays showed that both of the thermostabilised SERT mutants bound [(125)I]RTI55 (?-CIT) with affinity similar to that of the wild-type transporter, although cocaine bound with increased affinity (17- to 56-fold) whilst ibogaine, imipramine and paroxetine all bound with lower affinity (up to 90-fold). Neither SAH6 nor SAH7 was capable of transporting [(3)H]serotonin into HEK293 cell lines stably expressing the mutants, although serotonin bound to them with an apparent Ki of 155?M or 82?M, respectively. These data combined suggest that SAH6 and SAH7 are thermostabilised in a specific cocaine-bound conformation, making them promising candidates for crystallisation. Conformational thermostabilisation is thus equally applicable to membrane proteins that are transporters in addition to those that are GPCRs.