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A mechanism of uncompetitive inhibition of the serotonin transporter


Sandtner, Walter (2023), A mechanism of uncompetitive inhibition of the serotonin transporter, Dryad, Dataset,


The serotonin transporter (SERT/SLC6A4) is arguably the most extensively studied solute carrier (SLC). During its eponymous action - i.e., the retrieval of serotonin from the extracellular space - SERT undergoes a conformational cycle. Typical inhibitors (antidepressant drugs and cocaine), partial and full substrates (amphetamines and their derivatives) and atypical inhibitors (ibogaine analogues) bind preferentially to different states in this cycle. This results in competitive or non-competitive transport inhibition. Here, we explored the action of N-formyl-1,3-bis (3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-prop-2-yl-amine (ECSI#6) on SERT: inhibition of serotonin uptake by ECSI#6 was enhanced with increasing serotonin concentration. Conversely, the KM for serotonin was lowered by augmenting ECSI#6. ECSI#6 bound with low affinity to the outward-facing state of SERT but with increased affinity to a potassium-bound state. Electrophysiological recordings showed that ECSI#6 preferentially interacted with the inward-facing state. Kinetic modeling recapitulated the experimental data and verified that uncompetitive inhibition arose from preferential binding of ECSI#6 to the K+-bound, inward-facing conformation of SERT. This binding mode predicted a pharmacochaperoning action of ECSI#6, which was confirmed by examining its effect on the folding-deficient mutant SERT-PG601,602AA: pre-incubation of HEK293 cells with ECSI#6 restored export of SERT-PG601,602AA from the endoplasmic reticulum and substrate transport. Similarly, in transgenic flies, administration of ECSI#6 promoted delivery of SERT-PG601,602AA to the presynaptic specialization of serotonergic neurons. To the best of our knowledge, ECSI#6 is the first example of an uncompetitive SLC inhibitor. Pharmacochaperones endowed with the binding mode of ECSI#6 are attractive because they can rescue misfolded transporters at concentrations, which cause modest transport inhibition.

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