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Modulation of Neuronal Functions: the Role of SLC10A4
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Developmental Genetics. (Klas Kullander)
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
SLC10A4-Mediated Modulation of Neuronal Functions (English)
Abstract [en]

Mental health of a person depends on the correct functioning of the brain. The brain and the spinal cord contain many types of cells, of which one important type are called the neurons. Neurons are special in the way they connect to each other to form large networks. The chemicals called transmitters are packed at the nerve endings into tiny packets called vesicles and when a signal arrives these vesicles fuse immediately to the attached cell surface and release their contents. The role of the synaptic vesicular transporter proteins is to ensure proper packing of transmitter molecules that can be released upon stimulation. Vesicular packing is an important process. The carrier proteins involved in packing work in coordination to determine the amount and type of transmitters to be packed. Missing a carrier protein from the vesicles might lead to improper packing and inaccurate signaliing. These signaling molecules are known for their implications in many psychiatric and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Schizophrenia, and attention deficit to name just a few. 

How a vesicular transporter can affect the modulatory functions of aminergic neurons is the subject of this thesis. This thesis reports on the effects of the loss of a vesicular orphan transporter. Study I demonstrates the localization of this protein to monoaminergic and cholinergic terminals. It reports the effect of the loss of Slc10A4 on vesicular dopamine uptake, synaptic clearance of dopamine and hypersensitivity of animals to dopamine related psychostimulants. Study I also provides evidence for ATP as a possible ligand for SLC10A4 protein. Study II provides data on the clinical relevance of Slc10A4 in playing a protective role against vulnerability to epilepsy. It reports that loss of Slc10A4 renders the animals hypersensitive to cholinergic drugs. Study III provides a closer look at individual cholinergic synapses at neuromuscular junctions in mice lacking Slc10A4. The structural and electrophysiological properties of the NMJ are found compromised because of the loss of this vesicular protein. Taken together, this thesis presents a SV protein’s perspective of viewing at modulation of synaptic transmission.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2014. , 50 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 964
Keyword [en]
dopamine, acetylcholine, central nervous system, neuromuscular junctions, electrophysiology, monoamine, synaptic transmission, neuromodulation
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-214162ISBN: 978-91-554-8838-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-214162DiVA: diva2:684283
Public defence
2014-02-21, B21, Biomedical Centre, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2014-01-28 Created: 2014-01-07 Last updated: 2014-02-10
List of papers
1. SLC10A4 Is a Vesicular Amine-Associated Transporter Modulating Dopamine Homeostasis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>SLC10A4 Is a Vesicular Amine-Associated Transporter Modulating Dopamine Homeostasis
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2015 (English)In: Biological Psychiatry, ISSN 0006-3223, E-ISSN 1873-2402, Vol. 77, no 6, 526-536 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


The neuromodulatory transmitters, biogenic amines, have profound effects on multiple neurons and are essential for normal behavior and mental health. Here we report that the orphan transporter SLC10A4, which in the brain is exclusively expressed in presynaptic vesicles of monoaminergic and cholinergic neurons, has a regulatory role in dopamine homeostasis.


We used a combination of molecular and behavioral analyses, pharmacology, and in vivo amperometry to assess the role of SLC10A4 in dopamine-regulated behaviors.


We show that SLC10A4 is localized on the same synaptic vesicles as either vesicular acetylcholine transporter or vesicular monoamine transporter 2. We did not find evidence for direct transport of dopamine by SLC10A4; however, synaptic vesicle preparations lacking SLC10A4 showed decreased dopamine vesicular uptake efficiency. Furthermore, we observed an increased acidification in synaptic vesicles isolated from mice overexpressing SLC10A4. Loss of SLC10A4 in mice resulted in reduced striatal serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine concentrations and a significantly higher dopamine turnover ratio. Absence of SLC10A4 led to slower dopamine clearance rates in vivo, which resulted in accumulation of extracellular dopamine. Finally, whereas SLC10A4 null mutant mice were slightly hypoactive, they displayed hypersensitivity to administration of amphetamine and tranylcypromine.


Our results demonstrate that SLC10A4 is a vesicular monoaminergic and cholinergic associated transporter that is important for dopamine homeostasis and neuromodulation in vivo. The discovery of SLC10A4 and its role in dopaminergic signaling reveals a novel mechanism for neuromodulation and represents an unexplored target for the treatment of neurological and mental disorders.

Acetylcholine, amphetamine, central nervous system, cocaine, noradrenaline, serotonin, synaptic transmission, transmitter
National Category
Neurosciences Basic Medicine
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-214126 (URN)10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.07.017 (DOI)000349776000006 ()25176177 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2014-01-07 Created: 2014-01-07 Last updated: 2016-04-24
2. The synaptic protein encoded by the gene Slc10A4 suppresses epileptiform activity and regulates sensitivity to cholinergic chemoconvulsants
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The synaptic protein encoded by the gene Slc10A4 suppresses epileptiform activity and regulates sensitivity to cholinergic chemoconvulsants
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2013 (English)In: Experimental Neurology, ISSN 0014-4886, E-ISSN 1090-2430, Vol. 239, 73-81 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The expanding number of disease-causing dysfunctions of synaptic proteins illustrates the importance of investigating newly discovered proteins involved in neuronal transmission. The gene Slc10A4 encodes a recently described carrier protein present in pre-synaptic terminals of cholinergic and monoaminergic neurons. The biological significance of this recently described transporter protein is currently unknown. We here investigated whether absence of the Slc10a4 protein has any impact on function of the cholinergic system. We first investigated the sensitivity of Slc10a4 null mice to cholinergic stimulus in vitro. In contrast to wild type mice, gamma oscillations occurred spontaneously in hippocampal slices from Slc10a4 null mice. Furthermore, moderate treatment of Slc10a4 null slices with the cholinergic agonist carbachol induced epileptiform activity. In vivo, 3-channel EEG measurements in freely behaving mice revealed that Slc10a4 null mice had frequent epileptiform spike-activity before treatment, and developed epileptic seizures, detected by EEG and accompanied by observable behavioral components, more rapidly after injection of the cholinergic agonist pilocarpine. Similar results were obtained on non-operated mice, as evaluated by behavioral seizures and post mortem c-Fos immunohistochemistry. Importantly, Slc10a4 null mice and wild type control mice were equally sensitive to the glutamatergic chemoconvulsant kainic acid, demonstrating that absence of Slc10a4 led to a selective cholinergic hypersensitivity. In summary, we report that absence of the recently discovered synaptic vesicle protein Slc10a4 results in increased sensitivity to cholinergic stimulation.

National Category
Medical Genetics
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-184841 (URN)10.1016/j.expneurol.2012.09.006 (DOI)000313765000009 ()23022458 (PubMedID)

Correction in: EXPERIMENTAL NEUROLOGY  Volume: 247   Pages: 750-750   DOI: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2013.01.030

Available from: 2012-11-15 Created: 2012-11-15 Last updated: 2014-02-10Bibliographically approved
3. A role for SLC10A4 in structural remodelling and transmitter release at the mouse neuromuscular junctions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A role for SLC10A4 in structural remodelling and transmitter release at the mouse neuromuscular junctions
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-214138 (URN)
Available from: 2014-01-07 Created: 2014-01-07 Last updated: 2014-02-10

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