Differences in the developmental expression of the vesicular acetylcholine transporter and choline acetyltransferase in the rat brain
Holler, T., Berse, B., Cermak, J. M., Diebler, M. F., & Blusztajn, J. K. (1996). Differences in the developmental expression of the vesicular acetylcholine transporter and choline acetyltransferase in the rat brain. Neuroscience Letters, 212(2), 107-110. https://doi.org/10.1016/0304-3940(96)12808-1
The neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) is synthesized by the enzyme choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) and then transported into synaptic vesicles by the vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT). Since the VAChT gene is located within the first intron of the ChAT gene, it is likely that expression of the two genes is coregulated. We compared the developmental expression of VAChT and ChAT mRNA and protein in rat brain. ChAT mRNA and enzyme activity increased by almost 10-fold from embryonic day 19 to adulthood, with the most pronounced increase occurring after birth. In contrast, VAChT mRNA increased by only about 2-fold from late embryonic stages to adult levels. However, VAChT protein followed the developmental pattern of ChAT activity, revealing a large excess of VAChT mRNA over VAChT protein during early stages of development. The results are suggestive of differential mechanisms of ChAT and VAChT regulation during brain development, and of possible translational control of VAChT expression.