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Identifying dominant-negative actions of a dopamine transporter variant in patients with parkinsonism and neuropsychiatric disease

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Dysfunctional dopaminergic neurotransmission is central to movement disorders and mental diseases. The dopamine transporter (DAT) regulates extracellular dopamine levels, but the genetic and mechanistic link between DAT function and dopamine-related pathologies is not clear. Particularly, the pathophysiological significance of monoallelic missense mutations in DAT is unknown. Here, we use clinical information, neuroimaging, and large-scale exome-sequencing data to uncover the occurrence and phenotypic spectrum of a DAT coding variant, DAT-K619N, which localizes to the critical C-terminal PSD-95/Discs-large/ZO-1 homology-binding motif of human DAT (hDAT). We identified the rare but recurrent hDAT-K619N variant in exome-sequenced samples of patients with neuropsychiatric diseases and a patient with early-onset neurodegenerative parkinsonism and comorbid neuropsychiatric disease. In cell cultures, hDAT-K619N displayed reduced uptake capacity, decreased surface expression, and accelerated turnover. Unilateral expression in mouse nigrostriatal neurons revealed differential effects of hDAT-K619N and hDAT-WT on dopamine-directed behaviors, and hDAT-K619N expression in Drosophila led to impairments in dopamine transmission with accompanying hyperlocomotion and age-dependent disturbances of the negative geotactic response. Moreover, cellular studies and viral expression of hDAT-K619N in mice demonstrated a dominant-negative effect of the hDAT-K619N mutant. Summarized, our results suggest that hDAT-K619N can effectuate dopamine dysfunction of pathological relevance in a dominant-negative manner.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere151496
JournalJCI Insight
Volume6
Issue number18
ISSN2379-3708
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2021

ID: 67621523