Modeling and mutational analysis of a putative sodium-binding pocket on the dopamine D2 receptor

Kim A. Neve, Medhane G. Cumbay, Kimberly R. Thompson, Rui Yang, David C. Buck, Val J. Watts, Curtiss J. Durand, Martha M. Teeter

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70 Scopus citations


A homology model of the dopamine D2 receptor was constructed based on the crystal structure of rhodopsin. A putative sodium-binding pocket identified in an earlier model (PDB 1115) was revised. It is now defined by Asn-419 backbone oxygen at the apex of a pyramid and Asp-80, Ser-121, Asn-419, and Ser-420 at each vertex of the planar base. Asn-423 stabilizes this pocket through hydrogen bonds to two of these residues. Highly conserved Asn-52 is positioned near the sodium pocket, where it hydrogen-bonds with Asp-80 and the backbone carbonyl of Ser-420. Mutation of three of these residues, Asn-52 in helix 1, Ser-121 in helix 3, and Ser-420 in helix 7, profoundly altered the properties of the receptor. Mutants in which Asn-52 was replaced with Ala or Leu or Ser-121 was replaced with Leu exhibited no detectable binding of radioligands, although receptor immunoreactivity in the membrane was similar to that in cells expressing the wild-type D2L receptor. A mutant in which Asn-52 was replaced with Gln, preserving hydrogen-bonding capability, was similar to D2L in affinity for ligands and ability to inhibit cAMP accumulation. Mutants in which either Ser-121 or Ser-420 was replaced with Ala or Asn had decreased affinity for agonists (Ser-121), but increased affinity for the antagonists haloperidol and clozapine. Interestingly, the affinity of these Ser-121 and Ser-420 mutants for substituted benzamide antagonists showed little or no dependence on sodium, consistent with our hypothesis that Ser-121 and Ser-420 contribute to the formation of a sodium-binding pocket.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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