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