In mammals, histamine is metabolized by two major pathways: N(tau)-methylation via histamine N-methyltransferase and oxidative deamination via diamine oxidase. This gene encodes the first enzyme which is found in the cytosol and uses S-adenosyl-L-methionine as the methyl donor. In the mammalian brain, the neurotransmitter activity of histamine is controlled by N(tau)-methylation as diamine oxidase is not found in the central nervous system. A common genetic polymorphism affects the activity levels of this gene product in red blood cells. Multiple alternatively spliced transcript variants that encode different proteins have been found for this gene.