Building Biosynthetic Schools: Reviewing Compartmentation of CNS Taurine Synthesis
- Cite this article as:
- Dominy, J., Eller, S. & Dawson, R. Neurochem Res (2004) 29: 97. doi:10.1023/B:NERE.0000010437.81860.d5
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Taurine is one of the mammalian brain's most abundant and indispensable amino acids. Considerable strides have been made in understanding taurine biosynthesis within the brain, but many disputed issues nonetheless remain. Heading the list is the cellular origin of biosynthetically derived taurine: glial or neuronal? This article reviews the competing theories surrounding cellular compartmentation of taurine biosynthesis in the brain. It concludes that while in vitro systems clearly show astrocytes to be fully capable of taurine synthesis and neurons to be limited to synthesizing taurine from hypotaurine, there is insufficient evidence to attribute these processes to any one cell type in vivo. Instead, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests brain taurine biosynthesis is occurring via a more cooperative metabolic interaction between astrocytes and neurons.