Role of the 5-HTTLPR and SNP Promoter Polymorphisms on Serotonin Transporter Gene Expression: a Closer Look at Genetic Architecture and In Vitro Functional Studies of Common and Uncommon Allelic Variants

Sandra Iurescia, Davide Seripa, Monica Rinaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The serotonin (5-hydroxytriptamine (5-HT)) transporter (5-HTT) gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) is a variable number tandem repeats (VNTR) located in the promoter region of the human 5-HTT-encoding gene SLC6A4. This length polymorphism gives rise to different promoter variants, variously influencing SLC6A4 expression. Over the years, an extensive literature has investigated the relationships between these promoter variants and SLC6A4 gene expression, since these variants have been variously associated to complex neuropsychiatric conditions and traits. In this review, we detail the genetic architecture of the 5-HTTLPR allelic variants reported so far, with a closer look at the two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs25531 and rs25532 that lies in the VNTR and thus increase genetic variability of the SLC6A4 promoter. We summarize the hypothesized molecular mechanisms underlying this variation. We also provide an update on common and uncommon 5-HTTLPR allelic variants reviewing the available data on functional in vitro analysis of their regulatory effect on SLC6A4 gene transcription. Controversial findings are highlighted and critically discussed. A deeper knowledge of the “5-HTTLPR universe” will be useful to better understand the molecular basis of serotonin homeostasis and the pathological basis underlying serotonin-related neuropsychiatric conditions and traits.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Oct 13 2015

Keywords

  • 5-HTT promoter polymorphism
  • 5-HTTLPR
  • Allelic variants
  • In vitro functional studies
  • Serotonin transporter
  • SNPs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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