Biogenic amines at a low level of evolution: Production, functions and regulation in the unicellular Tetrahymena

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The unicellular eukaryote Tetrahymena synthesize, store and secrete biogenic amines (histamine, serotonin, epinephrine, dopamine, melatonin) and also can take up amines from the milieu. It also has (G-protein-coupled) receptors (binding sites) for these amines as well, as second messengers. The factors infuencing the mentioned processes are shown. For certain amines the genes and the coded enzymes are demonstrated. The amines influence phagocytosis, cell division, ciliary regeneration, glucose metabolism and chemotaxis. There are interhormone actions between the amines, and between the amines and other hormones produced by Tetrahymena. The critical review discusses the role of amines in the early stages of evolution and compares this to their functions in mammals. It tries to give answer how and why biogenic amines were selected to hormones, and why new functions formed for them in higher ranked animals, preserving also the ancient ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-108
Number of pages16
JournalActa microbiologica et immunologica Hungarica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015



  • Biogenic amines
  • Hormones
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Phylogeny
  • Protozoa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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