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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1982 Sep;79(18):5708-12.

Regulation of dopamine- and adenosine-dependent adenylate cyclase systems of chicken embryo retina cells in culture.


We have obtained evidence that receptor-stimulated adenylate cyclase activity [ATP pyrophosphate-lyase (cyclizing), EC] is regulated physiologically in both embryonic and mature neurons. In a series of experiments using cultured retina cells from chicken embryos, we found that dopamine-sensitive adenylate cyclase activity spontaneously desensitized as cultures differentiated. The cellular response to dopamine reached a maximum after 5 days in culture and then decreased to 40% during the next 5 days. This spontaneous desensitization appeared to be caused by functional dopaminergic transmission because it could be blocked by the dopamine antagonist haloperidol. The ability of added dopamine at 100 microM to cause near-complete desensitization is consistent with this conclusion. Pharmacologically induced desensitization required 31 hr for maximal effect and was half-maximal at 1-10 microM dopamine. Analogous desensitization of the adenosine-dependent adenylate cyclase system also was noted. When dopamine was removed from the medium of chronically treated cultures, cells resensitized to subsequent stimulation at a very slow rate. Resensitization likely depended on replacement of dopamine receptors because chronic dopamine treatment caused the disappearance of binding sites for the ligand [3H]spiroperidol. In a second series of experiments, using hatched animals, we found that similar regulation of dopamine receptor binding sites and activity could be elicited by manipulation of environmental light, a treatment thought to influence dopaminergic transmission. Retinas from animals in constant light had less specific [3H]spiroperidol binding (35 fmol/mg of protein) than did retinas from animals in constant darkness (66 fmol/mg of protein) and made less cAMP in response to added dopamine. Our results indicate that regulation of the dopamine receptor system begins early in development and continues to function in mature synapses.

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