Serotonin and dopamine biosynthetic pathways. Serotonin and dopamine are synthesized from the aromatic amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine, respectively. The first and rate-limiting step in synthesis is carried out by a neurotransmitter-specific aromatic amino acid hydroxylase enzyme, either tryptophan or tyrosine hydroxylase. In C. elegans, these genes are encoded by the tph-1 and cat-2 genes, respectively [19, 25]. The second synthetic step for both neurotransmitters shares the aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) enzyme, which has a relatively broad substrate specificity, and is also known as 5-hydroxytryptophan decarboxylase or dopa decarboxylase.