2013 Volume 89 Issue 4 Pages 139-156
Signal transmission through synapses connecting two neurons is mediated by release of neurotransmitter from the presynaptic axon terminals and activation of its receptor at the postsynaptic neurons. γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), non-protein amino acid formed by decarboxylation of glutamic acid, is a principal neurotransmitter at inhibitory synapses of vertebrate and invertebrate nervous system. On one hand glutamic acid serves as a principal excitatory neurotransmitter. This article reviews GABA researches on; (1) synaptic inhibition by membrane hyperpolarization, (2) exclusive localization in inhibitory neurons, (3) release from inhibitory neurons, (4) excitatory action at developmental stage, (5) phenotype of GABA-deficient mouse produced by gene-targeting, (6) developmental adjustment of neural network and (7) neurological/psychiatric disorder. In the end, GABA functions in simple nervous system and plants, and non-amino acid neurotransmitters were supplemented.
(Communicated by Masanori OTSUKA, M.J.A.)