Journal of neurochemistry

Molecular, pharmacological, and signaling properties of octopamine receptors from honeybee (Apis mellifera) brain.

PMID 24266860


G protein-coupled receptors are important regulators of cellular signaling processes. Within the large family of rhodopsin-like receptors, those binding to biogenic amines form a discrete subgroup. Activation of biogenic amine receptors leads to transient changes of intracellular Ca²⁺-([Ca²⁺](i)) or 3',5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate ([cAMP](i)) concentrations. Both second messengers modulate cellular signaling processes and thereby contribute to long-lasting behavioral effects in an organism. In vivo pharmacology has helped to reveal the functional effects of different biogenic amines in honeybees. The phenolamine octopamine is an important modulator of behavior. Binding of octopamine to its receptors causes elevation of [Ca²⁺](i) or [cAMP](i). To date, only one honeybee octopamine receptor that induces Ca²⁺ signals has been molecularly and pharmacologically characterized. Here, we examined the pharmacological properties of four additional honeybee octopamine receptors. When heterologously expressed, all receptors induced cAMP production after binding to octopamine with EC₅₀(s) in the nanomolar range. Receptor activity was most efficiently blocked by mianserin, a substance with antidepressant activity in vertebrates. The rank order of inhibitory potency for potential receptor antagonists was very similar on all four honeybee receptors with mianserin > cyproheptadine > metoclopramide > chlorpromazine > phentolamine. The subroot of octopamine receptors activating adenylyl cyclases is the largest that has so far been characterized in arthropods, and it should now be possible to unravel the contribution of individual receptors to the physiology and behavior of honeybees.

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Tyramine, analytical standard