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J Neurochem. 2005 Jan;92(1):72-82.

Enhanced activation of Akt and extracellular-regulated kinase pathways by simultaneous occupancy of Gq-coupled 5-HT2A receptors and Gs-coupled 5-HT7A receptors in PC12 cells.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey 08901, USA.


The most commonly prescribed antidepressants, the serotonin (5-HT) selective reuptake inhibitors, increase 5-HT without targeting specific receptors. Yet, little is known about the interaction of multiple receptor subtypes expressed by individual neurons. Specifically, the effect of increases in cAMP induced by Gs-coupled 5-HT receptor subtypes on the signaling pathways modulated by other receptor subtypes has not been studied. We have, therefore, examined the activation of the extracellular-regulated kinase (ERK) and Akt pathways by Gs-coupled 5-HT7A receptors and Gq-coupled 5-HT2A receptors, which are co-expressed in discrete brain regions. Agonists for both receptors were found to activate ERK and Akt in transfected PC12 cells. 5-HT2A receptor-mediated activation of the two pathways was found to be Ca2+-dependent. In contrast, 5-HT7A receptor-mediated activation of Akt required increases in both [cAMP] and intracellular [Ca2+], while activation of ERK was inhibited by Ca2+. The activation of ERK and Akt stimulated by simultaneous treatment of cells with 5-HT2A and 5-HT7A receptor agonists was found to be at least additive. Cell-permeable cAMP analogs mimicked 5-HT7A receptor agonists in enhancing 5-HT2A receptor-mediated activation of ERK and Akt. A role was identified for the cAMP-guanine exchange factor, Epac, in this augmentation of ERK, but not Akt, activation. Our finding of enhanced activation of neuroprotective Akt and ERK pathways by simultaneous occupancy of 5-HT2A and 5-HT7A receptors may also be relevant to the interaction of other neuronally expressed Gq- and Gs-coupled receptors.

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