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J Insect Physiol. 2005 Oct;51(10):1083-91. Epub 2005 Jul 18.

Protein secretion in cockroach salivary glands requires an increase in intracellular cAMP and Ca2+ concentrations.

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  • 1Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, Department of Animal Physiology, University of Potsdam, P.O.B. 60 15 53, 14415 Potsdam, Germany.


The salivary glands in the cockroach Periplaneta americana secrete protein-containing saliva when stimulated by serotonin (5-HT) and protein-free saliva upon dopamine stimulation. In order to obtain information concerning the signalling pathways involved in 5-HT-induced protein secretion, we have determined the protein content of saliva secreted after experimental manipulations that potentially elevate intracellular Ca2+ and cyclic nucleotide concentrations in isolated glands. We have found that 5-HT stimulates the rate of protein secretion in a dose-dependent manner (threshold: 3 x 10(-8)M; EC50 1.5 x 10(-6)M). The maximal rate of 5-HT-induced protein secretion was 2.2 +/- 0.2 microg/min. Increasing intracellular Ca2+ or cAMP by bath application of ionomycin (5 microM), db cAMP (10mM), forskolin (100 microM) or IBMX (100 microM), respectively, stimulated protein secretion at significantly lower rates, whereas db cGMP (1mM) did not activate protein secretion. The high rates and the kinetics of 5-HT-induced protein secretion could only be mimicked by either applying forskolin together with IBMX (with or without ionomycin) or by applying IBMX together with ionomycin. Our measurements suggest that 5-HT-induced protein secretion is mediated by an elevation of [cAMP]i and that Ca2+ may function as a co-agonist and augment the rate of protein secretion.

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