- Nov 2020
serotonin has another function: It can act as one of those molecular Post-it notes. Specifically, it can bind to a type of histone known as H3, which controls the genes responsible for transforming human stem cells (the forerunner of all kinds of cells) into serotonin neurons. When serotonin binds to the histone, the DNA unwinds, turning on the genes that dictate the development of a stem cell into a serotonin neuron, while turning off other genes by keeping their DNA tightly wound. (So stem cells that never see serotonin turn into other types of cells, since the genetic program to transform them into neurons is not activated.)
Serotonin can bind to H3 Histone and cause stem cells to become serotonin neurons.
This research led the same team to wonder if Dopamine might act in a similar way.
The serotonin paper is here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30867594/
they showed that the same enzyme that attaches serotonin to H3 can also catalyze the attachment of dopamine to H3 — a process, I learned, called dopaminylation.
The same enzyme that helps serotonin bind to H3 can also help dopamine bind to H3.
Paper found here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32273471/