Cloning and studying the serotonin transporter.
This invention is the first cDNA clone encoding a serotonin transporter. The
cDNA allows high-level expression of the transporter in non-neuronal eukaryotic
and prokaryotic systems suitable for isolation of the protein. This invention
has applications in the research and drug development regarding behavioral
disorders and makes it possible to perform high-level structure analysis of
serotonin uptake. This will allow for a precise study of the manner by which
anti-depressants, cocaine, and amphetamine interact with the transporter.
Mutagenesis of the transporter is possible for analysis of residues important
for binding drugs and serotonin uptake and regulation. The cDNA or parts of the
molecule, in normal or mutated form, could also be transferred into the germ
line of transgenic animals to establish animal models for disorders relating to
serotonin uptake, secretion, or metabolism. Given the wide spectrum of disorders
for which serotonin-specific anti-depressants are now prescribed, including
obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, as well as eating, sleeping and panic
disorders, such animal models might have a profound influence on the design of