Uptake of neurotransmitters involves multiple transporters acting in different brain locations under different physiological conditions. The vesicular transporters are driven by a proton-motive force generated by a V-ATPase and their substrates are taken up via proton/substrate exchange. The plasma membrane transporters are driven by an electrochemical gradient of sodium generated by a Na+/K(+)-ATPase. Two distinct families of transporters were identified in this group. One cotransports sodium with glutamate and other amino acids and requires additionally an outwardly directed potassium gradient. The second cotransports sodium, chloride and a variety of neurotransmitters, including gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glycine and monoamines. Genes and cDNA encoding several members of the latter family have been cloned and studied in detail. The structure and function as well as the evolutionary relationships among these neurotransmitter transporters are discussed.

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