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Dopaminylation in Psychostimulant Use Disorder Protects Against Psychostimulant Seeking Behavior by Normalizing Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) Dopamine Expression


Kenneth Blum*, Mark S. Gold, Jean L. Cadet, David Baron, Abdalla Bowirrat, Panayotis K. Thanos, Raymond Brewer, Rajendra D. Badgaiyan and Marjorie C. Gondré–Lewis   Pages 1 - 7 ( 7 )


Background: Repeated cocaine administration changes histone acetylation and methylation on Lys residues and Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) within the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Recently Nestler’s group explored histone Arg (R) methylation in reward processing models. Damez- Werno et al. (2016) reported that during human investigations and animal self-administration experiments, the histone mark protein-R-methyltransferase-6 (PRMT6) and asymmetric dimethylation of R2 on histone H3 (H3R2me2a) decreased in the rodent and cocaine-dependent human NAc. Overexpression of PRMT6 in D2-MSNs in all NAc neurons increased cocaine seeking, whereas PRMT6 overexpression in D1-MSNs protects against cocaine-seeking.

Hypothesis: The hypothesis is that dopaminylation (H3R2me2a binding) occurs in psychostimulant use disorder (PSU), and the binding inhibitor Srcin1, like the major DRD2 A2 allelic polymorphism, protects against psychostimulant seeking behavior by normalizing nucleus accumbens (NAc) dopamine expression.

Discussion: Numerous publications confirmed the association between the DRD2 Taq A1 allele (30-40 lower D2 receptor numbers) and severe cocaine dependence. Lepack et al. (2020) found that acute cocaine increases dopamine in NAc synapses, and results in histone H3 glutamine 5 dopaminylation (H3Q5dop) and consequent inhibition of D2 expression. The inhibition increases with chronic cocaine use and accompanies cocaine withdrawal. They also found that the Src kinase signaling inhibitor 1 (Srcin1 or p140CAP) during cocaine withdrawal reduced H3R2me2a binding. Consequently, this inhibited dopaminylation induced a “homeostatic brake.”

Conclusion: The decrease in Src signaling in NAc D2-MSNs, (like the DRD2 Taq A2 allele, a well- known genetic mechanism protective against SUD) normalizes the NAc dopamine expression and decreases cocaine reward and motivation to self-administer cocaine. The Srcin1 may be an important therapeutic target.


Src, p140CAP, psychostimulants, cocaine, histone arginine (R) methylation, medium spiny neurons, DRD2 gene.


Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences, Western University, Health Sciences, Pomona , CA, Department of Psychiatry, Washington, University, School of Medicine, St. louis, MO, Molecular Neuropsychiatry Research Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse/NIH, Baltimore, Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences, Western University, Health Sciences, Pomona , CA, Department of Neuroscience and Genetics, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Behavioral Neuropharmacology & Neuroimaging Laboratory on Addiction, Research Institute on Addictions, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, Division of Precision Nutrition, GARS, IP, LLC., Austin, TX, Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine Mt Sinai, New York, NY, Department of Anatomy, Howard University, Washington D.C

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