Serotonin and Iron

Tryptophan hydroxylase

Serotonin and Iron

Tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) is an enzyme (EC involved in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin.  It employs one additional cofactor, iron.

The serotonin transporter (SERT) is a monoamine transporter protein.  This is an integral membrane protein that transports the neurotransmitter serotonin from synaptic spaces into presynaptic neurons.  This transport of serotonin by the SERT protein terminates the action of serotonin and recycles it in a sodium-dependent manner.

Iron is required to synthesize both serotonin and dopamine, and serotonin receptors are known to regulate iron-carrying proteins.  But SERT had not been previously shown to control brain iron levels.  Follow-up studies with mice where the SERT gene was eliminated (SERT “knock-out” mice) verified a critical role for the transporter in controlling brain iron levels.

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