Antidepressant drugs can have significant effects on the mood of a patient suffering from major depression or other disorders. The pharmacological actions of these drugs generally affect the uptake or metabolism of the neurotransmitters serotonin, noradrenalin, and, to a lesser extent, dopamine. However, many aspects of antidepressant action are not understood. We conducted a proteomic analysis in a neuronal cell culture model in an attempt to identify molecules important to the operation of pathways functionally relevant to antidepressant action. The model involved generating cultures containing mixed neural and glial cells by controlled differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells, followed by exposure to 1 microM paroxetine for 14 days. After antidepressant exposure, we observed increased expression or modification of sepiapterin reductase (SPR), heat shock protein 9A, RAS and EF-hand domain containing, and protein disulfide isomerase associated 3 and decreased expression or modification of creatine kinase, actin, prohibitin, a T-cell receptor alpha chain, defensin-related cryptdin 5, and the intermediate filament proteins glial fibrillary acidic protein and vimentin. SPR, the most strongly up-regulated protein observed, controls production of tetrahydrobiopterin, an essential cofactor for the synthesis of many neurotransmitters including serotonin, making it a plausible and intriguing candidate protein for involvement in mood control and antidepressant drug action. SPR and the other proteins identified may represent links to molecular processes of importance to mood dysregulation and control, and their respective genes may be novel candidates for the study of antidepressant pharmacogenetics.