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Life Sci. 2003 Oct 24;73(23):2913-25.

Sensitization of adenylate cyclase: a general mechanism of neuroadaptation to persistent activation of Galpha(i/o)-coupled receptors?

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Purdue University, MCMP 1333, RHPH 224A, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


Acute activation of Galphas-coupled receptors stimulates cyclic AMP accumulation leading to the activation of downstream signaling cascades. These Galphas-mediated events can be countered by acute activation of inhibitory G proteins (Galpha(i/o)), which inhibit the activity of adenylate cyclase, thereby attenuating cyclic AMP accumulation. Furthermore, an additional, less direct mechanism for Galpha(i/o) proteins modulation of cyclic AMP signaling also has been described. Persistent activation of several Galpha(i/o)-coupled receptors has been shown to result in a subsequent paradoxical enhancement of adenylate cyclase activity in response to drug-stimulated cyclic AMP accumulation. This sensitization of adenylate cyclase likely represents a cellular adaptive response following prolonged activation of inhibitory receptors. Recent advances in our knowledge of G protein signaling, adenylate cyclase regulation, and other cellular signaling mechanisms have extensively increased our insight into this phenomenon. It is now thought that sensitization occurs as part of a compensatory mechanism by which the cell adapts to chronic inhibitory input. Such a mechanism may be involved in modulating Galphas-coupled receptor signaling following neurotransmitter elevations that occur in psychiatric disease states or following the administration of many drugs of abuse. This review will focus on recent advances in the understanding of molecular signaling pathways that are involved in sensitization and describe the potential role of sensitization in neuronal cell function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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