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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 May 8;104(19):8119-24. Epub 2007 Apr 23.

Physical interaction between the serotonin transporter and neuronal nitric oxide synthase underlies reciprocal modulation of their activity.

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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5203, F-34094 Montpellier, France.


The spatiotemporal regulation of neurotransmitter transporters involves proteins that interact with their intracellular domains. Using a proteomic approach, we identified several proteins that interact with the C terminus of the serotonin transporter (SERT). These included neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), a PSD-95/Disc large/ZO-1 (PDZ) domain-containing protein recruited by the atypical PDZ binding motif of SERT. Coexpression of nNOS with SERT in HEK293 cells decreased SERT cell surface localization and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) uptake. These effects were absent in cells transfected with SERT mutated in its PDZ motif to prevent physical association with nNOS, and 5-HT uptake was unaffected by activation or inhibition of nNOS enzymatic activity. 5-HT uptake into brain synaptosomes was increased in both nNOS-deficient and wild-type mice i.v. injected with a membrane-permeant peptidyl mimetic of SERT C terminus, which disrupted interaction between SERT and nNOS, suggesting that nNOS reduces SERT activity in vivo. Furthermore, treating cultured mesencephalic neurons with the mimetic peptide similarly increased 5-HT uptake. Reciprocally, indicating that 5-HT uptake stimulates nNOS activity, NO production was enhanced on exposure of cells cotransfected with nNOS and SERT to 5-HT. This effect was abolished by 5-HT uptake inhibitors and absent in cells expressing SERT mutated in its PDZ motif. In conclusion, physical association between nNOS and SERT provides a molecular substrate for their reciprocal functional modulation. In addition to showing that nNOS controls cell surface localization of SERT, these findings provide evidence for regulation of cellular signaling (NO production) by a substrate-carrying transporter.

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