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Keywords:

  • cellular trafficking;
  • choline;
  • dileucine motif;
  • endocytosis;
  • transporter

Abstract

Maintenance of acetylcholine (ACh) synthesis depends on the activity of the high-affinity choline transporter (CHT1), which is responsible for the reuptake of choline from the synaptic cleft into presynaptic neurons. In this review, we discuss the current understanding of mechanisms involved in the cellular trafficking of CHT1. CHT1 protein is mainly found in intracellular organelles, such as endosomal compartments and synaptic vesicles. The presence of CHT1 at the plasma membrane is limited by rapid endocytosis of the transporter in clathrin-coated pits in a mechanism dependent on a dileucine-like motif present in the carboxyl-terminal region of the transporter. The intracellular pool of CHT1 appears to constitute a reserve pool of transporters, important for maintenance of cholinergic neurotransmission. However, the physiological basis of the presence of CHT1 in intracellular organelles is not fully understood. Current knowledge about CHT1 indicates that stimulated and constitutive exocytosis, in addition to endocytosis, will have major consequences for regulating choline uptake. Future investigations of CHT1 trafficking should elucidate such regulatory mechanisms, which may aid in understanding the pathophysiology of diseases that affect cholinergic neurons, such as Alzheimer's disease.