Synaptic uptake and beyond: the sodium- and chloride-dependent neurotransmitter transporter family SLC6

Pflugers Arch. 2004 Feb;447(5):519-31. doi: 10.1007/s00424-003-1064-5. Epub 2003 Apr 29.


The SLC6 family is a diverse set of transporters that mediate solute translocation across cell plasma membranes by coupling solute transport to the cotransport of sodium and chloride down their electrochemical gradients. These transporters probably have 12 transmembrane domains, with cytoplasmic N- and C-terminal tails, and at least some may function as homo-oligomers. Family members include the transporters for the inhibitory neurotransmitters GABA and glycine, the aminergic transmitters norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, the osmolytes betaine and taurine, the amino acid proline, and the metabolic compound creatine. In addition, this family includes a system B(0+) cationic and neutral amino acid transporter, and two transporters for which the solutes are unknown. In general, SLC6 transporters act to regulate the level of extracellular solute concentrations. In the central and the peripheral nervous system, these transporters can regulate signaling among neurons, are the sites of action of various drugs of abuse, and naturally occurring mutations in several of these proteins are associated with a variety of neurological disorders. For example, transgenic animals lacking specific aminergic transporters show profoundly disturbed behavioral phenotypes and probably represent excellent systems for investigating psychiatric disease. SLC6 transporters are also found in many non-neural tissues, including kidney, intestine, and testis, consistent with their diverse physiological roles. Transporters in this family represent attractive therapeutic targets because they are subject to multiple forms of regulation by many different signaling cascades, and because a number of pharmacological agents have been identified that act specifically on these proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Chlorides / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Multigene Family / physiology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Sodium / metabolism*
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • Chlorides
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Sodium