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Studies from Dr. Tao Wang's laboratory identified specific histamine transporter

Publication Date:2022/10/26

On Oct 26, 2022 ---- Dr. Tao Wang’s laboratory of National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing/Tsinghua Institute of Multidisciplinary Biomedical Research (TIMBR) published a new article titled “Drosophila HisT Is a Specific Histamine Transporter that Contributes to Histamine Recycling in Glia” online in Science Advances. Researchers identified the first specific histamine transporter (HisT), which is involved in recycle of neurotransmitter histamine and sustaining visual transmission in Drosophila.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that enable the transmission of electrical signals between neurons. After release into the synaptic cleft, neurotransmitters are rapidly removed to avoid overstimulation of neurotransmitter receptors located on postsynaptic neurons. Two transport systems are responsible for the clearance of extracellular monoamine neurotransmitters within the central nervous system, namely the uptake-1 and uptake-2 systems. Uptake-1 transporters are ion-dependent and substrate specific, whereas uptake-2 transporters are ion-independent and substrate unspecific. By far, uptake-1 transporters specific for histamine have not been identified.

Figure 1. HisT located in epithelial glial cells and regulate histamine recycling.

In Drosophila, histamine is a major neurotransmitter in primary photoreceptor neurons. Here, through a combination of transcriptome analysis and an in vitro histamine-uptake screening, Xie et al. identified a histamine transporter, HisT (Histamine Transporter), is located in epithelial glial and capable of transporting histamine into cells. The HisT transporter is Na+-dependent and specific to histamine, indicating that HisT is an uptake-1 transporter. Overexpression and genetic mutation of hist confirm in vivo that HisT is a histamine transporter and that it plays a key physiological role in maintaining histamine pools and sustaining visual transmission.

Figure 2. Model of histamine recycling in drosophila visual system.

Dr. Jun Xie and Dr. Yongchao Han are co-first authors of this article. Ph.D candidate Yufeng Liang and Lei Peng have made great contributions to this work. Dr. Tao Wang is the corresponding author. The study was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Beijing Municipal Government and Tsinghua University, and was conducted at the National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing.

Full text link: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abq1780