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Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Mar 15;77(6):526-36. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.07.017. Epub 2014 Jul 24.

SLC10A4 is a vesicular amine-associated transporter modulating dopamine homeostasis.

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Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Biomolecular Physics, Applied Physics, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany.
Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.. Electronic address:



The neuromodulatory transmitters, biogenic amines, have profound effects on multiple neurons and are essential for normal behavior and mental health. Here we report that the orphan transporter SLC10A4, which in the brain is exclusively expressed in presynaptic vesicles of monoaminergic and cholinergic neurons, has a regulatory role in dopamine homeostasis.


We used a combination of molecular and behavioral analyses, pharmacology, and in vivo amperometry to assess the role of SLC10A4 in dopamine-regulated behaviors.


We show that SLC10A4 is localized on the same synaptic vesicles as either vesicular acetylcholine transporter or vesicular monoamine transporter 2. We did not find evidence for direct transport of dopamine by SLC10A4; however, synaptic vesicle preparations lacking SLC10A4 showed decreased dopamine vesicular uptake efficiency. Furthermore, we observed an increased acidification in synaptic vesicles isolated from mice overexpressing SLC10A4. Loss of SLC10A4 in mice resulted in reduced striatal serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine concentrations and a significantly higher dopamine turnover ratio. Absence of SLC10A4 led to slower dopamine clearance rates in vivo, which resulted in accumulation of extracellular dopamine. Finally, whereas SLC10A4 null mutant mice were slightly hypoactive, they displayed hypersensitivity to administration of amphetamine and tranylcypromine.


Our results demonstrate that SLC10A4 is a vesicular monoaminergic and cholinergic associated transporter that is important for dopamine homeostasis and neuromodulation in vivo. The discovery of SLC10A4 and its role in dopaminergic signaling reveals a novel mechanism for neuromodulation and represents an unexplored target for the treatment of neurological and mental disorders.


Acetylcholine; Amphetamine; Central nervous system; Cocaine; Noradrenaline; Serotonin; Synaptic transmission; Transmitter

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