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J Neurochem. 2005 Jul;94(1):181-91.

TYRA-2 (F01E11.5): a Caenorhabditis elegans tyramine receptor expressed in the MC and NSM pharyngeal neurons.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toledo, OH 43606, USA.


Tyramine appears to regulate key processes in nematodes, such as pharyngeal pumping, and more complex behaviors, such as foraging. Recently, a Caenorhabditis elegans tyramine receptor, SER-2, was identified that is involved in the TA-dependent regulation of these processes. In the present study, we have identified a second C. elegans gene, tyra-2 (F01E11.5) that encodes a tyramine receptor. This is the first identification of multiple tyramine receptor genes in any invertebrate. Membranes from COS-7 cells expressing TYRA-2 bind [(3)H]tyramine with high affinity with a K(d) of 20 +/- 5 nM. Other physiologically relevant biogenic amines, such as octopamine and dopamine, inhibit [(3)H]tyramine binding with much lower affinity (K(i)s of 1.55 +/- 0.5 and 1.78 +/- 0.6 microM, respectively), supporting the identification of TYRA-2 as a tyramine receptor. Indeed, tyramine also dramatically increases GTPgammaS binding to membranes from cells expressing TYRA-2 (EC(50) of 50 +/- 13 nM) and the TA-dependent GTPgammaS binding is PTX-sensitive suggesting that TYRA-2 may couple to Galpha(i/o). Based on fluorescence from tyra::gfp fusion constructs, TYRA-2 expression appears to be exclusively neuronal in the MC and NSM pharyngeal neurons, the AS family of amphid neurons and neurons in the nerve ring, body and tail. Taken together, these results suggest that TYRA-2 encodes a second Galpha(i/o)-coupled tyramine receptor and suggests that TA-dependent neuromodulation may be mediated by multiple receptors and more complex than previously appreciated.

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