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A glial variant of the vesicular monoamine transporter is required to store histamine in the Drosophila visual system.

  • Author(s): Romero-Calderón, Rafael
  • Uhlenbrock, Guido
  • Borycz, Jolanta
  • Simon, Anne F
  • Grygoruk, Anna
  • Yee, Susan K
  • Shyer, Amy
  • Ackerson, Larry C
  • Maidment, Nigel T
  • Meinertzhagen, Ian A
  • Hovemann, Bernhard T
  • Krantz, David E
  • et al.
Abstract

Unlike other monoamine neurotransmitters, the mechanism by which the brain's histamine content is regulated remains unclear. In mammals, vesicular monoamine transporters (VMATs) are expressed exclusively in neurons and mediate the storage of histamine and other monoamines. We have studied the visual system of Drosophila melanogaster in which histamine is the primary neurotransmitter released from photoreceptor cells. We report here that a novel mRNA splice variant of Drosophila VMAT (DVMAT-B) is expressed not in neurons but rather in a small subset of glia in the lamina of the fly's optic lobe. Histamine contents are reduced by mutation of dVMAT, but can be partially restored by specifically expressing DVMAT-B in glia. Our results suggest a novel role for a monoamine transporter in glia that may be relevant to histamine homeostasis in other systems.

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