Ligand selectivity of D 2 dopamine receptors is modulated by changes in local dynamics produced by sodium binding

Spencer S. Ericksen, David F. Cummings, Harel Weinstein, John A. Schetz

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13 Scopus citations


We have uncovered a significant allosteric response of the D 2 dopamine receptor to physiologically relevant concentrations of sodium (140 mM), characterized by a sodium-enhanced binding affinity for a D 4- selective class of agonists and antagonists. This enhancement is significantly more pronounced in a D 2-V2.61(91)F mutant and cannot be mimicked by an equivalent concentration of the sodium replacement cation N-methyl-D-glucamine. This phenomenon was explored computationally at the molecular level by analyzing the effect of sodium binding on the dynamic properties of D 2 receptor model constructs. Normal mode analysis identified one mode (M 19), which is involved in the open/closed motions of the binding cleft as being particularly sensitive to the sodium effect. To examine the consequences for D 2 receptor ligand recognition, one of the ligands, L-745,870 [3-{[4-(4-chlorophenyl) piperazin-1-yl]- methyl}-1H-pyrrolo[2,3-b]pyridine or CPPMA, chlorophenyl-piperazinyl methylazaindole], was docked into conformers along the M 19 trajectory. Structurally and pharmacologically well established ligand-receptor interactions, including the ionic interaction with D3.32(114) and interactions between the ligand aryl moieties and V2.61(91)F, were achieved only in "open" phase conformers. The docking of (-)-raclopride [3,5-dichloro-N-(1-ethylpyrrolidin-2-ylmethyl)-2-hydroxy-6-methoxybenzamide] suggests that the same binding cleft changes in response to sodium-binding perturbation account as well for the enhancements in binding affinity for substituted benzamides in the wild-type D 2 receptor. Our findings demonstrate how key interactions can be modulated by occupancy at an allosteric site and are consistent with a mechanism in which sodium binding enhances the affinity of selected ligands through dynamic changes that increase accessibility of substituted benzamides and 1,4-DAP ligands to the orthosteric site and accessibility of 1,4-DAPs to V2.61(91)F.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-54
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


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