Glycine transporters and synaptic function

IUBMB Life. 2008 Dec;60(12):810-7. doi: 10.1002/iub.128.


Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is mainly active in the caudal areas of the CNS. However, glycine also participates in excitatory neurotransmission since it is a co-agonist of the NMDA subtype of glutamate receptors. The concentration of glycine at synapses is mainly controlled by two sodium and chloride dependent transporters, GLYT1 and GLYT2, proteins that display a complementary distribution and activity in the nervous system. Our understanding of the physiological role of these transporters has advanced recently, thanks to the development of specific inhibitors and the generation of mice defective in the corresponding genes. In addition, the three-dimensional resolution of the structure of a bacterial homologue has shed light on the mechanisms of glycine transport. It is likely that this knowledge will prove to be useful for the development of drugs with antipsychotic, procognitive or analgesic properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glycine / metabolism*
  • Glycine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism*
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Glycine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Glycine