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J Neurochem. 1996 Jun;66(6):2621-4.

Allelic variation of human serotonin transporter gene expression.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Würzburg, Germany.


Mood, emotion, cognition, and motor functions as well as circadian and neuroendocrine rhythms, including food intake, sleep, and reproductive activity, are modulated by the midbrain raphe serotonin (5-HT) system. By directing the magnitude and duration of postsynaptic responses, carrier-facilitated 5-HT transport into and release from the presynaptic neuron are essential for the fine tuning of serotonergic neurotransmission. Interest in the mechanism of environmental factor-, disease-, and therapy-induced modification of 5-HT transporter (5-HTT) function and its impact on early brain development, event-related synaptic plasticity, and neurodegeneration is widespread and intensifying. We have recently characterized the human and murine 5-HTT genes and performed functional analyses of their 5'-flanking regulatory regions. A tandemly repeated sequence associated with the transcriptional apparatus of the human 5-HTT gene displays a complex secondary structure, represses promoter activity in nonserotonergic neuronal cells, and contains positive regulatory components. We now report a novel polymorphism of this repetitive element and provide evidence for allele-dependent differential 5-HTT promoter activity. Allelic variation in 5-HTT-related functions may play a role in the expression and modulation of complex traits and behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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