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In cholinergic neurons, the presynaptic choline transporter (CHT) mediates high-affinity choline uptake (HACU) as the rate-limiting step in acetylcholine (ACh) synthesis. It has previously been shown that HACU is increased by behaviorally and pharmacologically-induced activity of cholinergic neurons in vivo, but the molecular mechanisms of this change in CHT function and regulation have only recently begun to be elucidated. The recent cloning of CHT has led to the generation of new valuable tools, including specific anti-CHT antibodies and a CHT knockout mouse. These new reagents have allowed researchers to investigate the possibility of a presynaptic, CHT-mediated, molecular plasticity mechanism, regulated by and necessary for sustained in vivo cholinergic activity. Studies in various mouse models of cholinergic dysfunction, including acetylcholinesterase (AChE) transgenic and knockout mice, choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) heterozygote mice, muscarinic (mAChR) and nicotinic (mAChR) receptor knockout mice, as well as CHT knockout and heterozygote mice, have revealed new information about the role of CHT expression and regulation in response to long-term alterations in cholinergic neurotransmission. These mouse models highlight the capacity of CHT to provide for functional compensation in states of cholinergic dysfunction. A better understanding of modes of CHT regulation should allow for experimental manipulation of cholinergic signaling in vivo with potential utility in human disorders of known cholinergic dysfunction such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, Huntington's disease, and dysautonomia.