Serotonin transporter antibodies: Production, characterization, and localization in the brain

Feng C. Zhou, Yi Xu, Sharon Bledsoe, Renee Lin, Mark R. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations


Serotonin (5-HT) transporter, the mechanism for 5-HT high affinity uptake, is the essential component for the termination of 5-HT transmission. In order to identify transporter sites on 5-HT neurons or on other 5-HT uptaking cells, three rabbit antisera against cocaine sensitive-serotonin transporter (5-HTT) were produced. Antisera 5-HTT55 (against amino acid sequence 55-68 in cytoplasmic N-terminal) and 5-HTT315 (against amino acid sequence 315-325, a 3rd external loop peptide) were produced against synthetic multiple-antigenic peptides (MAP). Antiserum 5-HTTN was produced against a fusion protein of the first 71 amino acids of N-terminal peptide expressed in recombinant DNA transformed bacteria. SDS-PAGE/Western blots indicate that 5-HTT55 and 5-HTT315 recognized bands of 74 and 64 kDa in rat brains with densities in the order of cortex ≤ hippocampus > cerebellum, but not in liver, or muscle. The 5-HTTN recognized the fusion protein expressed in the bacteria, and the 64 kDa band with a similar density profile in the rat brain regions, and negative staining in liver and muscle. The immunocytochemistry of all three antisera revealed 5-HTT-immunostaining (5-HTT-im) in a pattern similar to 5-HT fiber distribution. 5-HTT55 and 5-HTT315 stainings were punctate in appearance; while 5-HTTN outlined the fibers in the 5-HT fiber areas, and neurons in raphe but not in substantia nigra or locus ceruleus. The preimmune serum and immune serum preabsorbed with 5-HTTN showed negative or diminished staining. Specific neurotoxin, 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine lesion removed all of the 5-HTTN fibers from the injection site, indicating that 5-HTTN-im fibers are 5-HT fibers in nature. Our study indicates that the three antibodies we produced recognize various domains of the 5-HTT. Our 5-HTT antibodies could be used as new markers of 5-HT fibers, and are particularly useful for the study of the plasticity of 5-HT fibers free of the complications involved with 5-HT content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-278
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 31 1996


  • 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine
  • Dorsal raphe
  • Fusion protein
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Multiple antigenic peptide
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Site specific peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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