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Neuron. 2001 Aug 2;31(2):247-60.

The expression of vesicular glutamate transporters defines two classes of excitatory synapse.

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Department of Neurology, Graduate Program in Neuroscience, UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


The quantal release of glutamate depends on its transport into synaptic vesicles. Recent work has shown that a protein previously implicated in the uptake of inorganic phosphate across the plasma membrane catalyzes glutamate uptake by synaptic vesicles. However, only a subset of glutamate neurons expresses this vesicular glutamate transporter (VGLUT1). We now report that excitatory neurons lacking VGLUT1 express a closely related protein that has also been implicated in phosphate transport. Like VGLUT1, this protein localizes to synaptic vesicles and functions as a vesicular glutamate transporter (VGLUT2). The complementary expression of VGLUT1 and 2 defines two distinct classes of excitatory synapse.

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