Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

An alternative way of making GABA

Sci. Signal.  06 Oct 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 397, pp. ec287
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aad5680

Midbrain dopaminergic neurons release both the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA and dopamine. In the central nervous system, GABA synthesis is usually mediated by two glutamate decarboxylases (GAD65 and GAD67). Kim et al. found that midbrain dopaminergic neurons use a different, evolutionarily conserved GABA synthesis pathway that is independent of GAD65 and GAD67. These cells synthesize GABA from putrescine through the enzymes diamine oxidase and aldehyde dehydrogenase 1a1. GABA synthesized by this pathway accounts for approximately 70% of co-released GABA.

J.-I. Kim, S. Ganesan, S. X. Luo, Y.-W. Wu, E. Park, E. J. Huang, L. Chen, J. B. Ding, Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1a1 mediates a GABA synthesis pathway in midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Science 350, 102–106 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]