Interdisciplinary Graduate Program
Department of Psychiatry, Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute
Medical Subject Headings
Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins; Extracellular Space; Endocytosis; Amino Acid Motifs; Cysteine; Arsenicals
Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Neuroscience and Neurobiology
The neuronal dopamine transporter (DAT) is a major determinant of extracellular dopamine (DA) levels and is the primary target for a variety of addictive and therapeutic psychoactive drugs. DAT is acutely regulated by protein kinase C (PKC) activation and amphetamine exposure, both of which modulate DAT surface expression by endocytic trafficking. In order to use live imaging approaches to study DAT endocytosis, methods are needed to exclusively label the DAT surface pool. The use of membrane impermeant, sulfonated biarsenic dyes holds potential as one such approach, and requires introduction of an extracellular tetracysteine motif (tetraCys; CCPGCC) to facilitate dye binding. In the current study, we took advantage of intrinsic proline-glycine (Pro-Gly) dipeptides encoded in predicted DAT extracellular domains to introduce tetraCys motifs into DAT extracellular loops 2, 3, and 4. [(3)H]DA uptake studies, surface biotinylation and fluorescence microscopy in PC12 cells indicate that tetraCys insertion into the DAT second extracellular loop results in a functional transporter that maintains PKC-mediated downregulation. Introduction of tetraCys into extracellular loops 3 and 4 yielded DATs with severely compromised function that failed to mature and traffic to the cell surface. This is the first demonstration of successful introduction of a tetracysteine motif into a DAT extracellular domain, and may hold promise for use of biarsenic dyes in live DAT imaging studies.