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Mol Pharmacol. 1998 Jul;54(1):94-104.

Effector pathway-dependent relative efficacy at serotonin type 2A and 2C receptors: evidence for agonist-directed trafficking of receptor stimulus.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas 78284-7764, USA.


There are many examples of a single receptor coupling directly to more than one cellular signal transduction pathway. Although traditional receptor theory allows for activation of multiple cellular effectors by agonists, it predicts that the relative degree of activation of each effector pathway by an agonist (relative efficacy) must be the same. In the current experiments, we demonstrate that agonists at the human serotonin2A (5-HT2A) and 5-HT2C receptors activate differentially two signal transduction pathways independently coupled to the receptors [phospholipase C (PLC)-mediated inositol phosphate (IP) accumulation and phospholipase A2 (PLA2)-mediated arachidonic acid (AA) release]. The relative efficacies of agonists differed depending on which signal transduction pathway was measured. Moreover, relative to 5-HT, some 5-HT2C agonists (e.g., 3-trifluoromethylphenyl-piperazine) preferentially activated the PLC-IP pathway, whereas others (e.g., lysergic acid diethylamide) favored the PLA2-AA pathway. In contrast, when two dependent responses were measured (IP accumulation and calcium mobilization), agonist relative efficacies were not different. These data strongly support the hypothesis termed "agonist-directed trafficking of receptor stimulus" recently proposed by Kenakin [Trends Pharmacol Sci 16:232-238 (1995)]. Concentration-response curves to 5-HT2C agonists were fit well by a three-state model of receptor activation, suggesting that two active receptor states may be sufficient to explain pathway-dependent agonist efficacy. Rational drug design that optimizes preferential effector activity within a group of receptor-selective drugs holds the promise of increased selectivity in clinically useful agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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