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J Biol Chem. 2000 Aug 4;275(31):23986-91.

Functional regulation of gamma-aminobutyric acid transporters by direct tyrosine phosphorylation.

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Department of Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0021, USA.


Tyrosine phosphorylation regulates multiple cell signaling pathways and functionally modulates a number of ion channels and receptors. Neurotransmitter transporters, which act to clear transmitter from the synaptic cleft, are regulated by multiple second messenger pathways that exert their effects, at least in part, by causing a redistribution of the transporter protein to or from the cell surface. To test the hypothesis that tyrosine phosphorylation affects transporter function and to determine its mechanism of action, we examined the regulation of the rat brain gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transporter GAT1 expressed endogenously in hippocampal neurons and expressed heterologously in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Inhibitors of tyrosine kinases decreased GABA uptake; inhibitors of tyrosine phosphatases increased GABA uptake. The decrease in uptake seen with tyrosine kinase inhibitors was correlated with a decrease in tyrosine phosphorylation of GAT1 and resulted in a redistribution of the transporter from the cell surface to intracellular locations. A mutant GAT1 construct that was refractory to tyrosine phosphorylation could not be regulated by tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Activators of protein kinase C, which are known to cause a redistribution of GAT1 from the cell surface, were additive to the effects of tyrosine kinase inhibitors suggesting that multiple signaling pathways control transporter redistribution. Application of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which activates receptor tyrosine kinases, up-regulated GAT1 function suggesting one potential trigger for the cellular regulation of GAT1 signaling by tyrosine phosphorylation. These data support the hypothesis that transporter expression and function is controlled by the interplay of multiple cell signaling cascades.

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