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Bioessays. 1993 May;15(5):323-32.

Amino acid neurotransmitter transporters: structure, function, and molecular diversity.

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Department of Pharmacology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06510.


Many biologically active compounds including neurotransmitters, metabolic precursors, and certain drugs are accumulated intracellularly by transporters that are coupled to the transmembrane Na+ gradient. Amino acid neurotransmitter transporters play a key role in the regulation of extracellular amino acid concentrations and termination of neurotransmission in the CNS section. Transporters for the major amino acid neurotransmitters glutamate, GABA, and glycine are found in both neurons and glial cells. Recent work has resulted in the identification of cDNAs encoding several amino acid neurotransmitter transport proteins, all of which belong to the Na(+)- and Cl(-)-dependent transporter gene family. The diversity of this family suggests a degree of transporter heterogeneity that is greater than that indicated by biochemical and pharmacological studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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