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Neuropharmacology. 2003 Feb;44(2):214-23.

Introduction of the 5-HT3B subunit alters the functional properties of 5-HT3 receptors native to neuroblastoma cells.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, The George Washington University, 2300 Eye Street NW, Washington DC 20037, USA.


The identification of a second 5-HT(3) (5-HT(3B)) subunit provides an explanation for 5-HT(3) receptor heterogeneity. We investigated whether introduction of recombinant 5-HT(3B) subunits would alter the functional properties of mouse neuroblastoma 5-HT(3) receptors. RT-PCR analysis revealed that NB41A3 cells contain mRNAs encoding 5-HT(3A) and 5-HT(3B) subunits. 5-HT increased intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) and caused the concentration-dependent activation of inward currents recorded at -60 mV. Both actions of 5-HT were antagonized by ondansetron. The 5-HT concentration-response relationship of NB41A3 cells was indistinguishable from that of the related NG108-15 cell line. The selective 5-HT(3)-receptor agonist mCPBG also elevated [Ca(2+)](i) and activated inward currents. 2-M-5HT was less efficacious than 5-HT as an activator of 5-HT(3) receptors in NB41A3 cells and did not significantly increase [Ca(2+)](i). The 5-HT induced increase in [Ca(2+)](i) did not involve caffeine- or thapsigargin-sensitive intracellular Ca(2+) stores. The introduction of the 5-HT(3B) subunit by transient transfection of NB41A3 cells caused 5-HT to become less potent as an activator of 5-HT(3) receptors and altered the kinetics of 5-HT activated currents so that they resembled currents mediated by 5-HT(3AB) receptors. The 5-HT(3B) subunit also abolished the 5-HT induced [Ca(2+)](i) increase seen in untransfected NB41A3 cells. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that NB41A3 cells predominantly express homomeric 5-HT(3A) receptors that become heteromeric 5-HT(3AB) receptors upon introduction of the recombinant 5-HT(3B) subunit.

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