Insect biochemistry and molecular biology

The potential subunits involved in two subtypes of α-Bgt-resistant nAChRs in cockroach dorsal unpaired median (DUM) neurons.

PMID 28007552


The american cockroach (Periplaneta americana) dorsal unpaired median (DUM) neurons provide an native tool to analyze the functional and pharmacological properties of ion channels and membrane receptors, such as nicotine acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). Here the imidacloprid-activated nAChR subtypes were examined in DUM neurons by the patch-clamp technique and the potential subunits involved in important subtypes were analyzed by combining with RNA interference (RNAi) technique. Imidacloprid exerted agonist activities on one subtype in α-Bgt-sensitive nAChRs and another subtype in α-Bgt-resistant nAChRs, in which the α-Bgt-resistant subtype showed much higher sensitivity to imidacloprid than the α-Bgt-sensitive subtype, with the difference close to 200-fold. In α-Bgt-resistant nAChRs, nicotine exerted the agonist activity on two subtypes (nAChR1 and nAChR2), although imidacloprid only activated nAChR1. RNAi against Paα3, Paα8 and Paβ1 significantly reduced both imidacloprid- and nicotine-activated currents on nAChR1. In contrast, RNAi against Paα1, Paα2 and Paβ1 decreased nicotine-activated currents on nAChR2. The results indicated that, in α-Bgt-resistant nAChRs, Paα3, Paα8 and Paβ1 might be involved in the subunit composition of nAChR1, and Paα1, Paα2 and Paβ1 in nAChR2. In summary, from the present study and previous reports, we deduced that there are at least three nAChR subtypes that are sensitive to imidacloprid in the cockroach DUM neurons.