SLC18: Vesicular neurotransmitter transporters for monoamines and acetylcholine

Mol Aspects Med. 2013 Apr-Jun;34(2-3):360-72. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2012.07.005.


The exocytotic release of neurotransmitters requires active transport into synaptic vesicles and other types of secretory vesicles. Members of the SLC18 family perform this function for acetylcholine (SLC18A3, the vesicular acetylcholine transporter or VAChT) and monoamines such as dopamine and serotonin (SLC18A1 and 2, the vesicular monoamine transporters VMAT1 and 2, respectively). To date, no specific diseases have been attributed to a mutation in an SLC18 family member; however, polymorphisms in SLC18A1 and SLC18A2 may confer risk for some neuropsychiatric disorders. Additional members of this family include SLC18A4, expressed in insects, and SLC18B1, the function of which is not known. SLC18 is part of the Drug:H(+) Antiporter-1 Family (DHA1, TCID 2.A.1.2) within the Major Facilitator Superfamily (MFS, TCID 2.A.1).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biogenic Monoamines / metabolism
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Drosophila
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Multigene Family / genetics*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Vesicular Acetylcholine Transport Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Vesicular Acetylcholine Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Vesicular Acetylcholine Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Vesicular Acetylcholine Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Vesicular Monoamine Transport Proteins / metabolism


  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • SLC18A1 protein, human
  • SLC18A2 protein, human
  • Vesicular Acetylcholine Transport Proteins
  • Vesicular Monoamine Transport Proteins
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins