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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Dec 12;103(50):19164-9. Epub 2006 Dec 4.

A polymorphism in the norepinephrine transporter gene alters promoter activity and is associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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  • 1Molecular Neurobiology, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA 02478, USA.


The norepinephrine transporter critically regulates both neurotransmission and homeostasis of norepinephrine in the nervous system. In this study, we report a previously uncharacterized and common A/T polymorphism at -3081 upstream of the transcription initiation site of the human norepinephrine transporter gene [solute carrier family 6, member 2 (SLC6A2)]. Using both homologous and heterologous promoter-reporter constructs, we found that the -3081(T) allele significantly decreases promoter function compared with the A allele. Interestingly, this T allele creates a new palindromic E2-box motif that interacts with Slug and Scratch, neural-expressed transcriptional repressors binding to the E2-box motif. We also found that both Slug and Scratch repress the SLC6A2 promoter activity only when it contains the T allele. Finally, we observed a significant association between the -3081(A/T) polymorphism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), suggesting that anomalous transcription factor-based repression of SLC6A2 may increase risk for the development of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and other neuropsychiatric diseases.

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