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Neuroscience. 1999 Mar;89(3):909-26.

Selective targeting of somatostatin receptor 3 to neuronal cilia.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany.


Recently, five members of the somatostatin receptor family have been cloned. However, little is known about their cellular and subcellular localization in the central nervous system. Using specific anti-peptide antisera, we observed somatostatin receptor 3-like immunoreactivity in many brain regions, including the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, hypothalamus, amygdala and cerebellum. In all of these regions (except for the cerebellar cortex), somatostatin receptor 3-like immunoreactivity was selectively targeted to 4-8-microm-long rod-shaped profiles which did not co-localize with axonal or dendritic markers. One immunoreactive profile was always associated with one neuronal cell body. This staining pattern was resistant to colchicine treatment and showed a closely overlapping distribution with somatostatin receptor 3 messenger RNA, suggesting that the receptor protein is not transported over long distances. Electron microscopic analysis revealed that somatostatin receptor 3-like immunoreactivity is localized to the plasma membrane of neuronal cilia which extended into an intercellular pocket and showed a 9+0 filament pattern in their basal body and proximal segments. Thus, somatostatin receptor 3 demonstrates a unique example of a G-protein-coupled receptor not localized to "classical" pre- or postsynaptic sites, but selectively targeted to neuronal cilia. The presence of the somatostatin receptor 3 receptor on neuronal cilia suggests that these presumably non-motile cilia may not merely represent developmental remnants, but rather function as chemical sensors of the immediate milieu.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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