Amino Acid Neurotransmitters


Amino acid neurotransmitters are single amino acid residues that are released from presynaptic nerve terminals in response to an action potential, cross the synaptic cleft, and bind to specific receptor proteins on the postsynaptic membrane to elicit a postsynaptic response.

Keywords: neurobiology; excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission; amino acid receptors

Figure 1.

Topology of (a) glutamate and (b) γ‐aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) and glycine receptor subunits. Based on sequence analysis and topology, glutamate receptor subunits do not share a common ancestral origin with GABAA and glycine receptors. The latter two receptors appear to be more closely related to the extensively characterized nicotinic acetylcholine receptor superfamily than to the glutamate receptor superfamily.



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Further Reading

Ben‐Ari Y, Khazipov R, Leinekugel X, Caillard O and Gaiarsa JL (1997) GABAA, NMDA and AMPA receptors: a developmentally regulated ‘menage a trois’. Trends in Neuroscience 20: 523–529.

Betz H (1991) Glycine receptors: heterogeneous and widespread in the mammalian brain. Trends in Neuroscience 14: 458–461.

Collingridge GL and Watkins JC (eds) (1994) The NMDA Receptor, 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Enna SJ and Bowery NG (eds) (1997) The GABA Receptors, 2nd edn. Totowa, New Jersey: Humana Press.

Kuhse J and Betz H (1995) The inhibitory glycine receptor: architecture, synaptic localization and molecular pathology of a postsynaptic ion–channel complex. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 5: 318–323.

Monaghan DT and Wenthold RJ (eds) (1997) The Ionotropic Glutamate Receptors. Totowa, New Jersey: Humana Press.

Vannier C and Triller A (1997) Biology of the postsynaptic glycine receptor. International Review of Cytology 176: 201–244.

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How to Cite close
Henley, Jeremy M(Apr 2001) Amino Acid Neurotransmitters. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000010]