Vesicular neurotransmitter transporters: mechanistic aspects

Curr Top Membr. 2014:73:149-74. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800223-0.00003-7.


Secondary transporters driven by a V-type H⁺-ATPase accumulate nonpeptide neurotransmitters into synaptic vesicles. Distinct transporter families are involved depending on the neurotransmitter. Monoamines and acetylcholine on the one hand, and glutamate and ATP on the other hand, are accumulated by SLC18 and SLC17 transporters, respectively, which belong to the major facilitator superfamily (MFS). GABA and glycine accumulate through a common SLC32 transporter from the amino acid/polyamine/organocation (APC) superfamily. Although crystallographic structures are not yet available for any vesicular transporter, homology modeling studies of MFS-type vesicular transporters based on distantly related bacterial structures recently provided significant advances, such as the characterization of substrate-binding pockets or the identification of spatial clusters acting as hinge points during the alternating-access cycle. However, several basic issues, such as the ion stoichiometry of vesicular amino acid transporters, remain unsettled.

Keywords: Neurotransmitter; Sialin; Synaptic vesicle; VAChT; VGLUT; VIAAT; VMAT.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Chlorides / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Vesicular Neurotransmitter Transport Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Vesicular Neurotransmitter Transport Proteins / chemistry
  • Vesicular Neurotransmitter Transport Proteins / classification
  • Vesicular Neurotransmitter Transport Proteins / metabolism*


  • Chlorides
  • Ligands
  • Vesicular Neurotransmitter Transport Proteins