Editors' ChoiceCell Biology

Biogenic Amine Receptors

Science Signaling  07 Jul 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 78, pp. ec231
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.278ec231

Biogenic amines have important effects on behavior in humans and other animals. These agents can act by binding to heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide–binding protein (G protein)–coupled receptors but can also activate ligand-gated ion channels. Ringstad et al. explored the family of ion channels that respond to biogenic amines in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans and characterized two family members that appear to function as chloride channels. One was a receptor activated by dopamine that could bind drugs used in humans, such as antipsychotics. The other was activated by tyramine and was shown in genetic studies to modulate behavior. Thus, the worm family of biogenic amine–activated channels is larger than previously recognized. If the same is true in humans, related channels may account, in part, for effects of currently used drugs, or targeting them could be beneficial for the development of therapeutics.

N. Ringstad, N. Abe, H. R. Horvitz, Ligand-gated chloride channels are receptors for biogenic amines in C. elegans. Science 325, 96–100 (2009). [Abstract] [Full Text]