Sulfur amino acid metabolism in the developing rhesus monkey brain: Subcellular studies of taurine, cysteinesulfinic acid decarboxylase, γ-aminobutyric acid, and glutamic acid decarboxylase

D. K. Rassin, J. A. Sturman, G. E. Gaull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Taurine, cysteinesulfinic acid decarboxylase (CSAD), glutamate, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) were measured in subcellular fractions prepared from occipital lobe of fetal and neonatal rhesus monkeys. In addition, the distribution of [35S]taurine in subcellular fractions was determined after administration to the fetus via the mother, to the neonate via administration to the mother prior to birth, and directly to the neonate at various times after birth. CSAD, glutamate, GABA, and GAD all were found to be low or unmeasurable in early fetal life and to increase during late fetal and early neonatal life to reach values found in the mother. Taurine was present in large amounts in early fetal life and decreased slowly during neonatal life, arriving at amounts found in the mother not until after 150 days of age. Significant amounts of taurine, CSAD, GABA, and GAD were associated with nerve ending components with some indication that the proportion of brain taurine found in these organelles increases during development. All subcellular pools of taurine were rapidly labeled by exogenously administered [35S]taurine. The subcellular distribution of all the components measured was compatible with the neurotransmitter or putative neurotransmitter functions of glutamate, GABA, and taurine. The large amount of these three amino acids exceeds that required for such function. The excess of glutamate and GABA may be used as a source of energy. The function of the excess of taurine is still not clear, although circumstantial evidence favors an important role in the development and maturation of the CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)740-748
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cite this