From glutamate co-release to vesicular synergy: vesicular glutamate transporters

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2011 Apr;12(4):204-16. doi: 10.1038/nrn2969.


Recent data indicate that 'classical' neurotransmitters can also act as co-transmitters. This notion has been strengthened by the demonstration that three vesicular glutamate transporters (vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGLUT1), VGLUT2 and VGLUT3) are present in central monoamine, acetylcholine and GABA neurons, as well as in primarily glutamatergic neurons. Thus, intriguing questions are raised about the morphological and functional organization of neuronal systems endowed with such a dual signalling capacity. In addition to glutamate co-release, vesicular synergy - a process leading to enhanced packaging of the 'primary' transmitter - is increasingly recognized as a major property of the glutamatergic co-phenotype. The behavioural relevance of this co-phenotype is presently the focus of considerable interest.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Proteins / classification
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Proteins / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Proteins
  • Glutamic Acid