The SLC32 transporter, a key protein for the synaptic release of inhibitory amino acids
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The SLC32 family comprises a single member: the vesicular inhibitory amino acid transporter (VIAAT) or vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT). It belongs to a eukaryotic-specific superfamily of H+-coupled amino acid transporters, which also comprises the mammalian SLC36 and SLC38 transporters. VIAAT exchanges GABA or glycine for protons. It is present on synaptic vesicles of GABAergic and glycinergic neurons, and in some endocrine cells, where it ensures the H+-ATPase-driven uptake, and subsequent exocytotic release, of inhibitory amino acids. Despite a similar function in vesicular neurotransmitter loading, VIAAT is not related to the vesicular glutamate transporter (VGLUT, SLC17) or the vesicular monoamine transporter/vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VMAT/VACHT, SLC18) proteins.