The vesicular monoamine transporter: from chromaffin granule to brain

Neurochem Int. 1998 Mar;32(3):227-46. doi: 10.1016/s0197-0186(97)00092-2.


All characterized monoaminergic cells utilize the same transport system for the vesicular accumulation of monoamines prior to their release. This system operates in neuronal (catecholaminergic, serotoninergic or histaminergic) as well as in endocrine or neuroendocrine cells. For several decades, chromaffin granules from bovine adrenal medulla have been used as a model system, allowing progress in the understanding of the biophysics, the biochemistry and the pharmacology of the monoamine vesicular transporter. The transporters from rat, bovine and man have been cloned. Surprisingly, two genes encode different isoforms of the protein which are differentially expressed in monoaminergic systems. The conjunction of recombinant DNA techniques and expression in secretory or non-secretory cells with the large body of data obtained on the chromaffin granule transporter has allowed rapid progress in the study of the protein. But interestingly enough, this progress has open new possibilities in the study of biological problems, especially in the brain. The transporter is useful for the determination of the relationship between small and large dense core vesicles, for the understanding of the mechanism of the drugs such as 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+), tetrabenazine or amphetamines, and as a marker in brain development. The possibility of regulations at the vesicular transporter level and of their effect on the quantum size has to be investigated. The vesicular monoamine transporter is also an important target for brain imaging.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Chromaffin Granules / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neuropeptides*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Vesicular Biogenic Amine Transport Proteins
  • Vesicular Monoamine Transport Proteins


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Vesicular Biogenic Amine Transport Proteins
  • Vesicular Monoamine Transport Proteins