, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp E728-E738

Regulation of monoamine transporters: Influence of psychostimulants and therapeutic antidepressants

Abstract

Synaptic neurotransmission in the central nervous system (CNS) requires the precise control of the duration and the magnitude of neurotransmitter action at specific molecular targets. At the molecular level, neurotransmitter signaling is dynamically regulated by a diverse set of macromolecules including biosynthetic enzymes, secretory proteins, ion channels, pre- and postsynaptic receptors and transporters. Monoamines, 5-hydroxytryptamine or serotonin (5-HT), norepinephrine (NE), and dopamine (DA) play an important modulatory role in the CNS and are involved in numerous physiological functions and pathological conditions. Presynaptic plasma membrane transporters for 5-HT (SERT), NE (NET), and DA (DAT), respectively, control synaptic actions of these monoamines by rapidly clearing the released amine. Monoamine transporters are the sites of action for widely used antidepressants and are high affinity molecular targets for drugs of abuse including cocaine, amphetamine, and 3,4-methylenedioxymetamphetamine (MDMA) “Ecstasy”. Monoamine transporters also serve as molecular gateways for neurotoxins. Emerging evidence indicates that regulation of transporter function and surface expression can be rapidly modulated by “intrinsic” transporter activity itself, and antidepressant and psychostimulant drugs that block monoamine transport have a profound effect on transporter regulation. Therefore, disregulations in the functioning of monoamine transporters may underlie many disorders of transmitter imbalance such as depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and schizophrenia. This review integrates recent progress in understanding the molecular mechanisms of monoamine transporter regulation, in particular, posttranscriptional regulation by phosphorylation and trafficking linked to cellular protein kinases, protein phosphatases, and transporter interacting proteins. The review also discusses the possible role of psychostimulants and antidepressants in influencing monoamine transport regulation.

Published: October 27, 2005