Binding Mode Selection Determines the Action of Ecstasy Homologs at Monoamine Transporters

Authors/others:Sandtner, Walter (Medizinische Universität Wien); Stockner, Thomas; Hasenhuetl, Peter S (Medizinische Universität Wien); Partilla, John S (Medizinische Universität Wien); Seddik, Amir; Zhang, Yuan-Wei (Medizinische Universität Wien); Cao, Jianjing (Medizinische Universität Wien); Holy, Marion (Medizinische Universität Wien); Steinkellner, Thomas (Medizinische Universität Wien); Rudnick, Gary (Medizinische Universität Wien); Baumann, Michael H (Medizinische Universität Wien); Ecker, Gerhard F; Newman, Amy Hauck (Medizinische Universität Wien); Sitte, Harald H

Determining the structural elements that define substrates and inhibitors at the monoamine transporters is critical to elucidating the mechanisms underlying these disparate functions. In this study, we addressed this question directly by generating a series of N-substituted 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine analogs that differ only in the number of methyl substituents on the terminal amine group. Starting with 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxy-N,N-dimethylamphetamine (MDDMA) and 3,4-methylenedioxy-N,N,N-trimethylamphetamine (MDTMA) were prepared. We evaluated the functional activities of the compounds at all three monoamine transporters in native brain tissue and cells expressing the transporters. In addition, we used ligand docking to generate models of the respective protein-ligand complexes, which allowed us to relate the experimental findings to available structural information. Our results suggest that the 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine analogs bind at the monoamine transporter orthosteric binding site by adopting one of two mutually exclusive binding modes. 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine and 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine adopt a high-affinity binding mode consistent with a transportable substrate, whereas MDDMA and MDTMA adopt a low-affinity binding mode consistent with an inhibitor, in which the ligand orientation is inverted. Importantly, MDDMA can alternate between both binding modes, whereas MDTMA exclusively binds to the low-affinity mode. Our experimental results are consistent with the idea that the initial orientation of bound ligands is critical for subsequent interactions that lead to transporter conformational changes and substrate translocation.

Number of pages:11
Date of publication:1.2016
Journal title:Molecular Pharmacology
Peer reviewed:true
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Bibliographical note:U.S. Government work not protected by U.S. copyright.
Publication Type:Article