Proton electrochemical gradient: driving and regulating neurotransmitter uptake


  • Z. Farsi
  • R. Jahn
  • A. Woehler


  • BioEssays


  • Bioessays 39 (5): 1600240


  • Accumulation of neurotransmitters in the lumen of synaptic vesicles (SVs) relies on the activity of the vacuolar-type H(+)-ATPase. This pump drives protons into the lumen, generating a proton electrochemical gradient (Δμ H+) across the membrane. Recent work has demonstrated that the balance between the chemical (ΔpH) and electrical (ΔΨ) components of ΔμH+ is regulated differently by some distinct vesicle types. As different neurotransmitter transporters use ΔpH and ΔΨ with different relative efficiencies, regulation of this gradient balance has the potential to influence neurotransmitter uptake. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanisms responsible for this regulation remain poorly understood. In this review, we provide an overview of current neurotransmitter uptake models, with a particular emphasis on the distinct roles of the electrical and chemical gradients and current hypotheses for regulatory mechanisms.