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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Feb 18;100(4):1955-60. Epub 2003 Feb 10.

Insights into glutamate transport regulation in human astrocytes: cloning of the promoter for excitatory amino acid transporter 2 (EAAT2).

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Department of Pathology, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Glutamate transport is central to neurotransmitter functions in the brain. Impaired glutamate transport induces neurotoxicity associated with numerous pathological processes, including stroke/ischemia, temporal lobe epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington's disease, HIV-1-associated dementia, and growth of malignant gliomas. Excitatory amino acid transporter-2 (EAAT2) is a major glutamate transporter in the brain expressed primarily in astrocytes. We presently describe the cloning and characterization of the human EAAT2 promoter, demonstrating elevated expression in astrocytes. Regulators of EAAT2 transport, both positive and negative, alter EAAT2 transcription, promoter activity, mRNA, and protein. These findings imply that transcriptional processes can regulate EAAT2 expression. Moreover, they raise the intriguing possibility that the EAAT2 promoter may be useful for targeting gene expression in the brain and for identifying molecules capable of modulating glutamate transport that could potentially inhibit, ameliorate, or prevent various neurodegenerative diseases.

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