A protein previously identified as a transporter of inorganic phosphate also transports glutamate into synaptic vesicles, according to a paper in today's Science by the University of California, San Francisco researcher Robert Edwards and colleagues. Glutamate is the nervous system's most important excitatory neurotransmitter, and its transporter to the synaptic vesicles had been the object of a long search. Glutamate plays a key role in learning and memory, and disruption in glutamate release has been implicated in neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration. Knowing one of the important molecules involved in glutamate neurotransmission may help elucidate the role of the glutamate in learning and in neurodegenerative disease.—June Kinoshita

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  1. . Uptake of glutamate into synaptic vesicles by an inorganic phosphate transporter. Science. 2000 Aug 11;289(5481):957-60. PubMed.