The physiological functions of neurotransmitter:sodium symporters (NSS) in reuptake of neurotransmitters from the synapse into the presynaptic nerve have been shown to be complemented by their involvement, together with non-plasma membrane neurotransmitter transporters, in the reverse transport of substrate (efflux) in response to psychostimulants. Recent experimental evidence implicates highly anionic phosphatidylinositol 4,5-biphosphate (PIP(2)) lipids in such functions of the serotonin (SERT) and dopamine (DAT) transporters. Thus, for both SERT and DAT, neurotransmitter efflux has been shown to be strongly regulated by the presence of PIP(2) lipids in the plasma membrane, and the electrostatic interaction of the N-terminal region of DAT with the negatively charged PIP(2) lipids. We examine the experimentally established phenotypes in a structural context obtained from computational modeling based on recent crystallographic data. The results are shown to set the stage for a mechanistic understanding of physiological actions of neurotransmitter transporters in the NSS family of membrane proteins. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Lipid-protein interactions.
Keywords: Amphetamine-induced efflux; Cell signaling and phosphorylation; Continuum mean-field theory; Electrostatic interactions; Lipid segregation in the membrane; Membrane composition and PIP(2) lipids; Molecular dynamics; Molecular dynamics simulations; Psychostimulant drugs of abuse.
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