The human dopamine transporter (hDAT) contains a C-terminal type 2 PDZ (postsynaptic density 95/Discs large/zona occludens 1) domain-binding motif (LKV) known to interact with PDZ domain proteins such as PICK1 (protein interacting with C-kinase 1). As reported previously, we found that, after deletion of this motif, hDAT was retained in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 and Neuro2A cells, suggesting that PDZ domain interactions might be critical for hDAT targeting. Nonetheless, substitution of LKV with SLL, the type 1 PDZ-binding sequence from the beta2-adrenergic receptor, did not disrupt plasma membrane targeting. Moreover, the addition of an alanine to the hDAT C terminus (+Ala), resulting in an LKVA termination sequence, or substitution of LKV with alanines (3xAla_618-620) prevented neither plasma membrane targeting nor targeting into sprouting neurites of differentiated N2A cells. The inability of +Ala and 3xAla_618-620 to bind PDZ domains was confirmed by lack of colocalization with PICK1 in cotransfected HEK293 cells and by the inability of corresponding C-terminal fusion proteins to pull down purified PICK1. Thus, although residues in the hDAT C terminus are indispensable for proper targeting, PDZ domain interactions are not required. By progressive substitutions with beta2-adrenergic receptor sequence, and by triple-alanine substitutions in the hDAT C terminus, we examined the importance of epitopes preceding the LKV motif. Substitution of RHW(615-617) with alanines caused retention of the transporter in the ER despite preserved ability of this mutant to bind PICK1. We propose dual roles of the hDAT C terminus: a role independent of PDZ interactions for ER export and surface targeting, and a not fully clarified role involving PDZ interactions with proteins such as PICK1.
Keywords: Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing; Alcohol Oxidoreductases; Animals; Binding Sites; Carrier Proteins; Cell Line; DNA-Binding Proteins; Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins; Endoplasmic Reticulum; Epitopes; Glutathione Transferase; Humans; Matrix Attachment Region Binding Proteins; Matrix Attachment Regions; Membrane Glycoproteins; Membrane Transport Proteins; Mice; Molecular Structure; Nerve Tissue Proteins; Nuclear Proteins; Phosphoproteins; Protein Transport; Transfection