Long story short: the serotonin transporter in emotion regulation and social cognition

Nat Neurosci. 2007 Sep;10(9):1103-9. doi: 10.1038/nn1964.


The gene encoding the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) contains a regulatory variation that has been associated with anxiety-related traits and susceptibility for depression. Here we highlight recent discoveries related to allelic variation of 5-HTT function with respect to emotion regulation and social behavior, drawing from an interdisciplinary perspective of behavioral genetics and cognitive neuroscience. Following a reductionistic path that leads from gene-behavior association studies to neuroimaging and epigenetic studies, we compare two models of 5-HTT-dependent modulation of brain activity and discuss the role of life stress experience in modifying 5-HTT function in the brain. Integration of these findings suggests that the impact of the 5-HTT gene on behavior is much broader than is commonly appreciated and may have a role in social cognition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Environment
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Social Behavior*


  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins