During exocytosis, classical and amino acid neurotransmitters are released from the lumen of synaptic vesicles to allow signaling at the synapse. The storage of neurotransmitters in synaptic vesicles and other types of secretory vesicles requires the activity of specific vesicular transporters. Glutamate and monoamines such as dopamine are packaged by VGLUTs and VMATs respectively. Changes in the localization of either protein have the potential to up or downregulate neurotransmitter release, and some of the mechanisms for sorting these proteins to secretory vesicles have been investigated in cultured cells in vitro. We have used Drosophila molecular genetic techniques to study vesicular transporter trafficking in an intact organism and have identified a motif required for localizing Drosophila VMAT (DVMAT) to synaptic vesicles in vivo. In contrast to DVMAT, large deletions of Drosophila VGLUT (DVGLUT) show relatively modest deficits in localizing to synaptic vesicles, suggesting that DVMAT and DVGLUT may undergo different modes of trafficking at the synapse. Further in vivo studies of DVMAT trafficking mutants will allow us to determine how changes in the localization of vesicular transporters affect the nervous system as a whole and complex behaviors mediated by aminergic circuits.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Large dense core vesicle (LDCV)
  • Membrane trafficking
  • Synaptic vesicle (SV)
  • Tyrosine motif
  • VMAT
  • Vesicular neurotransmitter transporter


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