"Researchers Discover Serotonin Can Regulate Gene Expression Inside Neurons"
The brain chemical serotonin, a neurotransmitter long known for its role in passing signals between neurons in the brain, can also regulate expression of genes within neurons in an unexpected way, according to research conducted by neuroscientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and published in the journal Nature. The discovery may help scientists better understand a variety of brain disorders, including mood disorders, substance abuse/addiction, and neurodegenerative diseases. "Our findings represent a dramatic divergence from the current dogma, which works primarily on the premise that neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine act solely through the activation of their membrane receptors in the brain to regulate brain cell activity," said Ian Maze, PhD, assistant professor of neuroscience and pharmacological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and senior author of the paper. "We found actions of these brain chemicals that are independent of neurotransmission but critically important to their overall signaling, suggesting that our current understanding of these molecules is incomplete and requires further investigation."
— Ian Maze, PhD, Assistant Professor, Neuroscience, Pharmacological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai