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Nature. 1989 Jun 29;339(6227):704-6.

A histamine-activated chloride channel involved in neurotransmission at a photoreceptor synapse.

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Cambridge University, Department of Zoology, England, UK.


Compared with the variety of neuromodulatory agents acting through second messenger systems, the number of fast neurotransmitters which directly activate ion channels is limited. Thus, synaptic receptors that act as ligand-gated ion channels have been firmly established only for acetylcholine, glycine, GABA and glutamate, with the first three of these belonging to the same molecular superfamily. Recently, however, a possible addition to this list has been suggested as a result of evidence implicating histamine as the neurotransmitter released by a variety of arthropod photoreceptors. Neurotransmission at this synapse has been studied extensively, particularly in the fly. The postsynaptic elements, large monopolar cells, respond to light with a rapid, chloride-mediated hyperpolarization that can be mimicked by the application of histamine. In this report I document some basic properties of the histamine receptors present on large monopolar cells isolated from blowfly optic lobes. The receptor is a ligand-gated chloride channel showing properties consistent with its presumed role of mediating neurotransmission at the photoreceptor synapse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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