The role of zinc ions in reverse transport mediated by monoamine transporters

by Scholze P, Norregaard L, Singer EA, Freissmuth M, Gether U, Sitte HH.
Institute of Pharmacology, University of Vienna,
Wahringerstrasse 13a, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.
J Biol Chem 2002 Jun 14;277(24):21505-13


The human dopamine transporter (hDAT) contains an endogenous high affinity Zn2+ binding site with three coordinating residues on its extracellular face (His193, His375, and Glu396). Upon binding to this site, Zn2+ causes inhibition of [3H]1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ([3H]MPP+) uptake. We investigated the effect of Zn2+ on outward transport by superfusing hDAT-expressing HEK-293 cells preloaded with [3H]MPP+. Although Zn2+ inhibited uptake, Zn2+ facilitated [3H]MPP+ release induced by amphetamine, MPP+, or K+-induced depolarization specifically at hDAT but not at the human serotonin and the norepinephrine transporter (hNET). Mutation of the Zn2+ coordinating residue His(193) to Lys (the corresponding residue in hNET) eliminated the effect of Zn2+ on efflux. Conversely, the reciprocal mutation (K189H) conferred Zn2+ sensitivity to hNET. The intracellular [3H]MPP+ concentration was varied to generate saturation isotherms; these showed that Zn2+ increased V(max) for efflux (rather than K(M-Efflux-intracellular)). Thus, blockage of inward transport by Zn2+ is not due to a simple inhibition of the transporter turnover rate. The observations provide evidence against the model of facilitated exchange-diffusion and support the concept that inward and outward transport represent discrete operational modes of the transporter. In addition, they indicate a physiological role of Zn2+, because Zn2+ also facilitated transport reversal of DAT in rat striatal slices.