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J Neurochem. 2000 Feb;74(2):478-89.

Structure of the human serotonin 5-HT4 receptor gene and cloning of a novel 5-HT4 splice variant.

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Department of Functional Genomics, Janssen Research Foundation, Beerse, Belgium.


Several variants of the serotonin 5-HT4 receptor are known to be produced by alternative splicing. To survey the existence and usage of exons in humans, we cloned the human 5-HT4 gene. Based on sequence analysis seven C-terminal variants (a-g) and one internal splice variant (h) were found. We concentrated in this study on the functional characterization of the novel splice variant h, which leads to the insertion of 14 amino acids into the second extracellular loop of the receptor. The h variant was cloned as a splice combination with the C-terminal b variant; therefore, we call this receptor 5-HT4(hb). This novel receptor variant was expressed transiently in COS-7 cells, and its pharmacological profile was compared with those of the previously cloned 5-HT4(a) and 5-HT4(b) isoforms, with the latter being the primary reference for the h variant. In competition binding experiments using reference 5-HT4 ligands, no significant differences were detected. However, the broadly used 5-HT4 antagonist GR113808 discriminated functionally among the receptor variants investigated. As expected, it was an antagonist on the 5-HT4(a) and 5-HT4(b) variant but showed partial agonistic activity on the 5-HT4(hb) variant. These data emphasize the importance of variations introduced by splicing for receptor pharmacology and may help in the understanding of conflicting results seen with 5-HT4 ligands in different model systems.

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