The human serotonin transporter (hSERT) has primary and allosteric binding sites for escitalopram and R-citalopram. Previous studies have established that the interaction of these two compounds at a low affinity allosteric binding site of hSERT can affect the dissociation of [3H]escitalopram from hSERT. The allosteric binding site involves a series of residues in the 10th, 11th, and 12th trans-membrane domains of hSERT. The low affinity allosteric activities of escitalopram and R-citalopram are essentially eliminated in a mutant hSERT with changes in some of these residues, namely A505V, L506F, I507L, S574T, I575T, as measured in dissociation binding studies. We confirm that in association binding experiments, R-citalopram at clinically relevant concentrations reduces the association rate of [3H]escitalopram as a ligand to wild type hSERT. We demonstrate that the ability of R-citalopram to reduce the association rate of escitalopram is also abolished in the mutant hSERT (A505V, L506F, I507L, S574T, I575T), along with the expected disruption the low affinity allosteric function on dissociation binding. This suggests that the allosteric binding site mediates both the low affinity and higher affinity interactions between R-citalopram, escitalopram, and hSERT. Our data add an additional structural basis for the different efficacies of escitalopram compared to racemic citalopram reported in animal studies and clinical trials, and substantiate the hypothesis that hSERT has complex allosteric mechanisms underlying the unexplained in vivo activities of its inhibitors.
- Association rate
- Dissociation rate
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
- Serotonin transporter