An Amphipathic Alpha-Helix in the Prodomain of Cocaine and Amphetamine Regulated Transcript Peptide Precursor Serves as Its Sorting Signal to the Regulated Secretory Pathway.

An amphipathic alpha-helix in the prodomain of cocaine and amphetamine regulated transcript Peptide precursor serves as its sorting signal to the regulated secretory pathway.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(3): e59695
Blanco EH, Lagos CF, Andrés ME, Gysling K

Cocaine and Amphetamine Regulated Transcript (CART) peptides are anorexigenic neuropeptides. The L34F mutation in human CART peptide precursor (proCART) has been linked to obesity (Yanik et al. Endocrinology 147: 39, 2006). Decrease in CART peptide levels in individuals carrying the L34F mutation was attributed to proCART subcellular missorting. We studied proCART features required to enter the regulated secretory pathway. The subcellular localization and the secretion mode of monomeric EGFP fused to the full-length or truncated forms of human proCART transiently transfected in PC12 cells were analyzed. Our results showed that the N-terminal 1-41 fragment of proCART was necessary and sufficient to sort proCART to the regulated secretory pathway. In silico modeling predicted an alpha-helix structure located between residues 24-37 of proCART. Helical wheel projection of proCART alpha-helix showed an amphipathic configuration. The L34F mutation does not modify the amphipathicity of proCART alpha-helix and consistently proCARTL34F was efficiently sorted to the regulated secretory pathway. However, four additional mutations to proCARTL34F that reduced its alpha-helix amphipathicity resulted in the missorting of the mutated proCART toward the constitutive secretory pathway. These findings show that an amphipathic alpha-helix is a key cis-structure for the proCART sorting mechanism. In addition, our results indicate that the association between L34F mutation and obesity is not explained by proCART missorting. HubMed – addiction


Dissociated grey matter changes with prolonged addiction and extended abstinence in cocaine users.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(3): e59645
Connolly CG, Bell RP, Foxe JJ, Garavan H

Extensive evidence indicates that current and recently abstinent cocaine abusers compared to drug-naïve controls have decreased grey matter in regions such as the anterior cingulate, lateral prefrontal and insular cortex. Relatively little is known, however, about the persistence of these deficits in long-term abstinence despite the implications this has for recovery and relapse. Optimized voxel based morphometry was used to assess how local grey matter volume varies with years of drug use and length of abstinence in a cross-sectional study of cocaine users with various durations of abstinence (1-102 weeks) and years of use (0.3-24 years). Lower grey matter volume associated with years of use was observed for several regions including anterior cingulate, inferior frontal gyrus and insular cortex. Conversely, higher grey matter volumes associated with abstinence duration were seen in non-overlapping regions that included the anterior and posterior cingulate, insular, right ventral and left dorsal prefrontal cortex. Grey matter volumes in cocaine dependent individuals crossed those of drug-naïve controls after 35 weeks of abstinence, with greater than normal volumes in users with longer abstinence. The brains of abstinent users are characterized by regional grey matter volumes, which on average, exceed drug-naïve volumes in those users who have maintained abstinence for more than 35 weeks. The asymmetry between the regions showing alterations with extended years of use and prolonged abstinence suggest that recovery involves distinct neurobiological processes rather than being a reversal of disease-related changes. Specifically, the results suggest that regions critical to behavioral control may be important to prolonged, successful, abstinence. HubMed – addiction


Functional Impact of ABCB1 Variants on Interactions between P-Glycoprotein and Methadone.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(3): e59419
Hung CC, Chiou MH, Teng YN, Hsieh YW, Huang CL, Lane HY

Methadone is a widely used substitution therapy for opioid addiction. Large inter-individual variability has been observed in methadone maintenance dosages and P-glycoprotein (P-gp) was considered to be one of the major contributors. To investigate the mechanism of P-gp’s interaction with methadone, as well as the effect of genetic variants on the interaction, Flp-In™-293 cells stably transfected with various genotypes of human P-gp were established in the present study. The RNA and protein expression levels of human P-gp were confirmed by real-time quantitative RT-PCR and western blot, respectively. Utilizing rhodamine 123 efflux assay and calcein-AM uptake study, methadone was demonstrated to be an inhibitor of wild-type human P-gp via non-competitive kinetic (IC50?=?2.17±0.10 µM), while the variant-type human P-gp, P-gp with 1236T-2677T-3435T genotype and P-gp with 1236T-2677A-3435T genotype, showed less inhibition potency (IC50?=?2.97±0.09 µM and 4.43±1.10 µM, respectively) via uncompetitive kinetics. Methadone also stimulated P-gp ATPase and inhibited verapamil-stimulated P-gp ATPase activity under therapeutic concentrations. These results may provide a possible explanation for higher methadone dosage requirements in patients carrying variant-type of P-gp and revealed the possible drug-drug interactions in patients who receive concomitant drugs which are also P-gp substrates. HubMed – addiction



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