GABA and GHB neurotransmitters in plants and animals

Aaron Fait, Ayelet Yellin, Hillel Fromm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

14 Scopus citations


γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a four-carbon non-protein amino acid conserved from bacteria to plants and vertebrates. In the latter it is mainly known as a neurotransmitter. The enzymes that synthesize and catabolize GABA constitute a metabolic pathway known as the GABA shunt which bypasses two steps of the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Functional genomics tools using Arabidopsis as a model system revealed that the GABA shunt is imperative for normal plant development and for response to stress, and suggest roles for GABA as an important metabolite as well as a potential signaling molecule. Moreover, γ-hydroxybutyrate, a by-product of the GABA shunt and a neurotransmitter in animals, was recently discovered in plants. Here we discuss the possible roles of these two neurotransmitters in plants with focus on components that underlie their roles as signaling molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunication in Plants
Subtitle of host publicationNeuronal Aspects of Plant Life
PublisherSpringer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783540285168
ISBN (Print)3540284753, 9783540284758
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)
  • Medicine (all)


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