A network of phosphatidylinositol (4,5)-bisphosphate (PIP2) binding sites on the dopamine transporter regulates amphetamine behavior in Drosophila Melanogaster

Academic Article


  • Reward modulates the saliency of a specific drug exposure and is essential for the transition to addiction. Numerous human PET–fMRI studies establish a link between midbrain dopamine (DA) release, DA transporter (DAT) availability, and reward responses. However, how and whether DAT function and regulation directly participate in reward processes remains elusive. Here, we developed a novel experimental paradigm in Drosophila melanogaster to study the mechanisms underlying the psychomotor and rewarding properties of amphetamine (AMPH). AMPH principally mediates its pharmacological and behavioral effects by increasing DA availability through the reversal of DAT function (DA efflux). We have previously shown that the phospholipid, phosphatidylinositol (4, 5)-bisphosphate (PIP2), directly interacts with the DAT N-terminus to support DA efflux in response to AMPH. In this study, we demonstrate that the interaction of PIP2 with the DAT N-terminus is critical for AMPH-induced DAT phosphorylation, a process required for DA efflux. We showed that PIP2 also interacts with intracellular loop 4 at R443. Further, we identified that R443 electrostatically regulates DA efflux as part of a coordinated interaction with the phosphorylated N-terminus. In Drosophila, we determined that a neutralizing substitution at R443 inhibited the psychomotor actions of AMPH. We associated this inhibition with a decrease in AMPH-induced DA efflux in isolated fly brains. Notably, we showed that the electrostatic interactions of R443 specifically regulate the rewarding properties of AMPH without affecting AMPH aversion. We present the first evidence linking PIP2, DAT, DA efflux, and phosphorylation processes with AMPH reward.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Belovich AN; Aguilar JI; Mabry SJ; Cheng MH; Zanella D; Hamilton PJ; Stanislowski DJ; Shekar A; Foster JD; Bahar I
  • Start Page

  • 4417
  • End Page

  • 4430
  • Volume

  • 26
  • Issue

  • 8