The Norepinephrine Transporter and Its Regulation

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For many years, the norepinephrine transporter (NET) was considered a 'static' protein that contributed to the termination of the action of norepinephrine in the synapse of noradrenergic neurons. The concept that the NET is dynamically regulated, adjusting noradrenergic transmission by changing its function and/or expression, was considered initially in the mid 1980s. Since that time, a plethora of studies demonstrate that the NET is regulated by several intracellular and extracellular signaling molecules, and that phosphorylation of the NET is a major pathway regulating its cell surface expression and thereby its function. The NET is a target of action of a number of drugs that are used long-term therapeutically or abused chronically. This has driven numerous investigations of how the NET and its function are regulated by long-term exposure to drugs. While repeated exposure to many drugs has been shown to affect NET function and expression, the intracellular mechanisms for these effects remains elusive.