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Vesicular Histamine Transporter LOVIT Functions in Visual Transmission

Publication Date:2019/05/09

On April 30th, 2019-Studies from Dr. Tao Wang's laboratory a new transporter identified a novel member of the SLC45 transporter family that transports histamine into synaptic vesicles in Drosophila photoreceptor terminals. The work entitled “LOVIT Is a Putative Vesicular Histamine Transporter Required in Drosophila for Vision.” is published online in the Cell Reports (doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.04.024).


Neurons communicate at synapses through the release of neurotransmitters, and loading and concentrating neurotransmitters into synaptic vesicles is important for sending signals at high temporal frequencies.  In this article, authors identified a novel member of the SLC45 transporter family, LOVIT (Loss Of VIsual Transmission) through a targeted RNAi screen. LOVIT is prominently expressed in photoreceptor synaptic vesicles, and null mutations of lovit severely reduced the concentration of histamine in photoreceptor terminals and thus completely blocked the visual transmission. LOVIT supports the very high rates of vesicle recycling at the Drosophila photoreceptor terminal that are required to sustain the commensurately high rates of histamine release in fly vision. These results demonstrate a LOVIT-dependent mechanism maintaining the synaptic concentration of histamine, and provide the first evidence for a histamine-specific vesicular transporter. Moreover, it is speculated that other species may use a similar transporter to regulate the location of monoamines.

Ying Xu, a PhD student from Dr. Tao Wang’s lab is the first author of this article, and Dr. Tao Wang is the corresponding author. The study was supported by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and by a “973” grant from the Chinese Ministry of Science. The research was conducted at the National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing.