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J Biol Chem. 1998 Jul 31;273(31):19459-68.

High affinity recognition of serotonin transporter antagonists defined by species-scanning mutagenesis. An aromatic residue in transmembrane domain I dictates species-selective recognition of citalopram and mazindol.

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Department of Pharmacology and Center for Molecular Neuroscience, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-6600, USA.


Human and Drosophila melanogaster serotonin (5-HT) transporters (SERTs) exhibit similar 5-HT transport kinetics and can be distinguished pharmacologically by many, but not all, biogenic amine transporter antagonists. By using human and Drosophila SERT chimeras, major determinants of potencies of two transporter antagonists, mazindol and citalopram, were tracked to the amino-terminal domains encompassing transmembrane domains I and II. Species-scanning mutagenesis, whereby amino acid substitutions are made switching residues from one species to another, was employed on the eight amino acids that differ between human and Drosophila SERTs in this region, and antagonist potencies were reassessed in 5-HT uptake assays. A single mutation in transmembrane domain I of human SERT, Y95F, shifted both citalopram and mazindol to Drosophila SERT-like potencies. Strikingly, these potency changes were in opposite directions suggesting Tyr95 contributes both positive and negative determinants of antagonist potency. To gain insight into how the Y95F mutant might influence mazindol potency, we determined how structural variants of mazindol responded to the mutation. Our studies demonstrate the importance of the hydroxyl group on the heterocyclic nucleus of mazindol for maintaining species-selective recognition of mazindol and suggest that transmembrane domain I participates in the formation of antagonist-binding sites for amine transporters.

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