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Paroxetine binding and activation of phosphofructokinase implicates energy metabolism in antidepressant mode of action

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  • Dongik Park
  • Bozidar Novak, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry
  • ,
  • Yu Yan, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry
  • ,
  • Melahat Ezgi Kaya, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry
  • ,
  • Christoph W Turck, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the predominant drugs prescribed for Major Depressive Disorder. The immediate pharmacological target of SSRIs is the serotonin transporter. However, the delayed therapeutic effect and high rate of patient non-response make it highly likely that SSRIs also have other molecular targets that are yet to be identified. Cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA) is a method based on thermal stabilization of target proteins upon drug binding. In the present study, we show that the SSRI paroxetine binds to phosphofructokinase (PFK) protein using CETSA. We found that mouse brain PFK and recombinant human PFK proteins are stabilized by paroxetine incubation. Chronic paroxetine treatment also significantly increased mouse brain PFK thermal stability. Paroxetine significantly elevated in vitro and in vivo PFK activity. Levels of several metabolites in glutamate- and energy metabolism-related pathways are significantly correlated with PFK activity in mouse hippocampus. Our data show that paroxetine can bind to PFK and affect its activity. Implications of these results for the antidepressant mode of action of paroxetine are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Pages (from-to)8-14
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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