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Endocrinology. 1997 Aug;138(8):3497-504.

Pheromone regulated production of inositol-(1, 4, 5)-trisphosphate in the mammalian vomeronasal organ.

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Department of Zoology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695, USA.


Social behaviors of most mammals are profoundly affected by chemical signals, pheromones, exchanged between conspecifics. Pheromones interact with dendritic microvilli of bipolar neurons in the vomeronasal organ (VNO). To investigate vomeronasal signal transduction pathways, microvillar membranes from porcine VNO were prepared. Incubation of such membranes from prepubertal females with boar seminal fluid or urine results in an increase in production of inositol-(1, 4, 5)-trisphosphate (IP3). The dose response for IP3 production is biphasic with a GTP-dependent component at low stimulus concentrations and a nonspecific increase in IP3 at higher stimulus concentrations. The GTP-dependent stimulation is mimicked by GTPgammaS and blocked by GDPbetaS. Furthermore, the GTP-dependent component of the stimulation of IP3 production is sex specific and tissue dependent. Studies with monospecific antibodies reveal a G alpha(q/11)-related protein in vomeronasal neurons, concentrated at their microvilli. Our observations indicate that pheromones in boar secretions act on vomeronasal neurons in the female VNO via a receptor mediated, G protein-dependent increase in IP3. These observations set the stage for further investigations on the regulation of stimulus-excitation coupling in vomeronasal neurons. The pheromone-induced IP3 response also provides an assay for future purification of mammalian reproductive pheromones.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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