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J Neurosci. 2005 Aug 24;25(34):7821-30.

5-HT7 receptor is coupled to G alpha subunits of heterotrimeric G12-protein to regulate gene transcription and neuronal morphology.

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  • 1Abteilung Neurologie und Sinnesphysiologie, Physiologisches Institut, Universität Göttingen, Humboldtallee 23, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.


The neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) plays an important role in the regulation of multiple events in the CNS. We demonstrated recently a coupling between the 5-HT4 receptor and the heterotrimeric G13-protein resulting in RhoA-dependent neurite retraction and cell rounding (Ponimaskin et al., 2002). In the present study, we identified G12 as an additional G-protein that can be activated by another member of serotonin receptors, the 5-HT7 receptor. Expression of 5-HT7 receptor induced constitutive and agonist-dependent activation of a serum response element-mediated gene transcription through G12-mediated activation of small GTPases. In NIH3T3 cells, activation of the 5-HT7 receptor induced filopodia formation via a Cdc42-mediated pathway correlating with RhoA-dependent cell rounding. In mouse hippocampal neurons, activation of the endogenous 5-HT7 receptors significantly increased neurite length, whereas stimulation of 5-HT4 receptors led to a decrease in the length and number of neurites. These data demonstrate distinct roles for 5-HT7R/G12 and 5-HT4R/G13 signaling pathways in neurite outgrowth and retraction, suggesting that serotonin plays a prominent role in regulating the neuronal cytoarchitecture in addition to its classical role as neurotransmitter.

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