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J Biol Chem. 1997 Feb 21;272(8):5040-7.

Opiate-induced adenylyl cyclase superactivation is isozyme-specific.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, 76100 Rehovot, Israel.


While acute activation of inhibitory Gi/o-coupled receptors leads to inhibition of adenylyl cyclase, chronic activation of such receptors leads to an increase in cAMP accumulation. This phenomenon, observed in many cell types, has been referred to as adenylyl cyclase superactivation. At this stage, the mechanism leading to adenylyl cyclase superactivation and the nature of the isozyme(s) responsible for this phenomenon are largely unknown. Here we show that transfection of adenylyl cyclase isozymes into COS-7 cells results in an isozyme-specific increase in AC activity upon stimulation (e.g. with forskolin, ionomycin, or stimulatory receptor ligands). However, independently of the method used to activate specific adenylyl cyclase isozymes, acute activation of the mu-opioid receptor inhibited the activity of adenylyl cyclases I, V, VI, and VIII, while types II, IV, and VII were stimulated and type III was not affected. Chronic mu-opioid receptor activation followed by removal of the agonist was previously shown, in transfected COS-7 cells, to induce superactivation of adenylyl cyclase type V. Here we show that it also leads to superactivation of adenylyl cyclase types I, VI, and VIII, but not of type II, III, IV, or VII, demonstrating that the superactivation is isozyme-specific. Not only were isozymes II, IV, and VII not superactivated, but a reduction in the activities of these isozymes was actually observed upon chronic opiate exposure. These results suggest that the phenomena of tolerance and withdrawal involve specific adenylyl cyclase isozymes.

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