Radiation inactivation studies of the dopamine reuptake transporter protein

S. Paul Berger, Kevin Farrell, David Conant, Ellis S. Kempner, Steven M. Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Using radiation inactivation, we have estimated the target size for the neuronal dopamine transporter protein. The specific binding of several radioligands previously shown to label the dopamine transporter was determined in an irradiated striatal membrane preparation. The apparent target size of the 1-[1-(2-[3H]benzo[b]thienyl)cyclohexyl]piperidine site was approximately 98 kDa. However, the apparent target size of the 'cocaine binding site,' as measured with the cocaine analogue 2β-[3H]carbornethoxy- 3β-(4-fluorophenyl)tropane in the same assays, was approximately 140 kDa. Radiation inactivation of the binding of other ligands (GBR-12935 and mazindol) led to target size estimates in the same range (94 kDa and 133 kDa, respectively). All of these target sizes are significantly larger than the estimate of 70 kDa derived from the deduced amino acid sequence for the cloned dopamine reuptake transporter cDNA. Larger target sizes than expected have also been reported for ligand binding to the sodium-dependent serotonin transporter and glucose transporter. The estimated sizes for the ligand binding site(s) associated with the dopamine transporter protein are difficult to reconcile with a single transporter protein of 70 kDa. We conclude that the dopamine transporter protein is a homo- or heterooligomer when occupied in situ by uptake-blocking drugs like cocaine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-731
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1994


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