Many drugs (e.g. biguanide antihyperglycemics, histamine H2 receptor blockers, platinum-based chemotherapeutics etc.) and toxins (e.g. MPP+, paraquat) are hydrophilic organic cations (OCs) that do not readily cross cell membranes by passive diffusion. Organic cation transporters play important roles in the disposition, efficacy and toxicity of these OC xenobiotics. These transporters are also likely to be involved in various physiological pathways through their uptake of endogenous bioactive amines. The plasma membrane monoamine transporter (PMAT) is a new polyspecific organic cation transporter first cloned and characterized in our laboratory. The physiologic substrates of PMAT are the monoamine neurotransmitters with serotonin (5- HT) being the most preferred substrate. PMAT also transports many structurally diverse cationic xenobiotics including the neurotoxin MPP+ and therapeutic drugs such as metformin. PMAT is highly expressed in the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, and has overlapping substrate specificity with organic cation transporters 1- 3 (OCT1-3). Our previous molecular and cellular work strongly supports a role of PMAT in 5-HT signaling pathways and in OC transport at barrier tissues including choroid plexus that forms the blood- cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier. However, these studies are limited by their in vitro design, and the physiological function of PMAT and its in vivo significance in brain OC disposition remain undefined. We have recently created a novel PMAT knockout mouse model, which provides a unique resource to evaluate the roles and significance of PMAT in vivo. Using a chemical biology approach, we also identified a set of promising specific small molecule inhibitors for PMAT. More excitingly, the PMAT null mice exhibited physiological and histological abnormalities in the colon which could represent early signs associated with the development of inflammatory bowel disease. Because 5-HT is a key gut hormone known to be involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease, these observations suggest a protective role of PMAT against colitis likely through 5-HT mediated pathway. In this competing renewal application, we propose to use our novel animal model and unique chemical tools to investigate the physiological, pharmacological and pathological function of PMAT.
In Aim 1, we will further characterize and validate highly potent and selective small molecule inhibitors for PMAT.
In Aim 2, we will use our knockout animal model and specific chemical inhibitors to investigate the role of PMAT in mediating OC efflux at the blood-CSF barrier. Lastly, in Aim 3, we will investigate the pathogenic role of PMAT in the development of inflammatory response in the gut. The proposed studies will greatly enhance our understandings of the in vivo roles and significance of a novel organic cation transporter. These studies will shed new light on the determinants influencing brain disposition of OC drugs and toxins. Finally, our studies will elucidate the pathophysiologic role of PMAT in the gut and offer new insights into genetic factors influencing host susceptibility to inflammatory bowel disease.

Public Health Relevance

This project will determine how a specific transporter PMAT influences brain disposition of hydrophilic cationic drugs and neurotoxins, and whether PMAT plays a protective role against inflammatory bowel disease. Tools and knowledge generated from these studies have broad applications and far reaching implications in basic research, drug discovery and development, and disease prevention processes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Xenobiotic and Nutrient Disposition and Action Study Section (XNDA)
Program Officer
Okita, Richard T
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Washington
Schools of Pharmacy
United States
Zip Code
Lee, Nora; Duan, Haichuan; Hebert, Mary F et al. (2014) Taste of a pill: organic cation transporter-3 (OCT3) mediates metformin accumulation and secretion in salivary glands. J Biol Chem 289:27055-64
Duan, Haichuan; Wang, Joanne (2013) Impaired monoamine and organic cation uptake in choroid plexus in mice with targeted disruption of the plasma membrane monoamine transporter (Slc29a4) gene. J Biol Chem 288:3535-44
Itagaki, Shiro; Ganapathy, Vadivel; Ho, Horace T B et al. (2012) Electrophysiological characterization of the polyspecific organic cation transporter plasma membrane monoamine transporter. Drug Metab Dispos 40:1138-43
Ho, Horace T B; Pan, Yongmei; Cui, Zhiyi et al. (2011) Molecular analysis and structure-activity relationship modeling of the substrate/inhibitor interaction site of plasma membrane monoamine transporter. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 339:376-85
Duan, Haichuan; Wang, Joanne (2010) Selective transport of monoamine neurotransmitters by human plasma membrane monoamine transporter and organic cation transporter 3. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 335:743-53
Zhou, Mingyan; Duan, Haichuan; Engel, Karen et al. (2010) Adenosine transport by plasma membrane monoamine transporter: reinvestigation and comparison with organic cations. Drug Metab Dispos 38:1798-805
Ho, Horace T B; Wang, Joanne (2010) Tyrosine 112 is essential for organic cation transport by the plasma membrane monoamine transporter. Biochemistry 49:7839-46
Xia, Li; Zhou, Mingyan; Kalhorn, Thomas F et al. (2009) Podocyte-specific expression of organic cation transporter PMAT: implication in puromycin aminonucleoside nephrotoxicity. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 296:F1307-13
Dahlin, Amber; Royall, Josh; Hohmann, John G et al. (2009) Expression profiling of the solute carrier gene family in the mouse brain. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 329:558-70
Govindarajan, Rajgopal; Leung, George P H; Zhou, Mingyan et al. (2009) Facilitated mitochondrial import of antiviral and anticancer nucleoside drugs by human equilibrative nucleoside transporter-3. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 296:G910-22

Showing the most recent 10 out of 22 publications