Chapter

Glutamate Transporters

ROBERT BALÁZS, RICHARD J. BRIDGES and CARL W. COTMAN

in Excitatory Amino Acid Transmission in Health and Disease

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780195150025
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865079 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150025.003.0008
Glutamate Transporters

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The ability of glutamate (Glu) to contribute to physiological processes ranging from fast excitatory signaling to synaptic plasticity and neuropathology depends on the considerable diversity that exists among Glu ionotropic and metabotropic receptors. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the ability to piece together a picture of the overall functioning of an excitatory amino acid (EAA) synapse also requires a thorough understanding of the mechanisms through which Glu is sequestered in the appropriate cellular compartments and its concentrations regulated. It is within this context that the functional significance of two distinct families of integral membrane transport protein systems has come to be recognized. The excitatory amino acid transporters mediate the uptake of Glu into neurons and glia, whereas the vesicular glutamate transporters are responsible for loading this excitatory transmitter into synaptic vesicles prior to signal-mediated release. The molecular biology and pharmacology of both transporters are discussed.

Keywords: glutamate; synaptic plasticity; excitatory amino acids; excitatory amino acid transporters; vesicular glutamate transporters; pharmacology; molecular biology

Chapter.  8208 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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