Gouaux Lab lays foundation for improved antidepressants

New research from the lab of Eric Gouaux, Ph.D., senior scientist at OHSU’s Vollum Institute and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, reveals how neurotransmitters in the brain interact with antidepressants. These findings were published in the November 7 edition of Nature.

The first paper, “X-ray structure of dopamine transporter elucidates antidepressant mechanism,” uses structural biology techniques to improve our understanding of the dopamine transporter. These new insights about the structure of the dopamine transporter may help other scientists develop better targeted antidepressants with fewer side effects. Co-authors on this paper include Aravind Penmatsa, Ph.D., and Kevin Wang, Ph.D., both postdoctoral fellows in Dr. Gouaux’s lab.

A second, complementary paper by Dr. Gouaux and his colleagues was also published today in Nature. This paper, “Structural basis for action by diverse antidepressants on biogenic amine transporters,” describes how the researchers made an amino acid transporter that more closely resembles the human neurotransmitter transporter proteins targeted by antidepressants. They used this transporter to further understanding on how four different types of antidepressants work. Co-authors on this paper include Hui Wang, Ph.D., April Goehring, Ph.D., Kevin Wang, Aravind Penmatsa, and Ryan Ressler, Ph.D.

Check out the OHSU News release for more information.

Both papers were funded by the American Heart Association, the National Institute of Mental Health, (1F32MH093120 and 5R37MH070039) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.