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Eur J Pharmacol. 2004 Jun 16;493(1-3):19-28.

Sigma-2 receptors are specifically localized to lipid rafts in rat liver membranes.

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Unit on Receptor Biochemistry and Pharmacology, Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bldg. 8, Rm. B1-23 8 Center DR MSC 0815 Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


We have previously shown that sigma-2 receptors are relatively difficult to solubilize (Eur. J. Pharmacol. 304 (1996) 201), suggesting possible localization in detergent-resistant lipid raft domains. Rat liver membranes were treated on ice with 1% Triton X-100 or 20 mM 3-[(3-cholamidopropyl)dimethylammonio]-1-propanesulfonate (CHAPS), and the extract subjected to centrifugation on a discontinuous gradient of 5%, 38%, and 40% sucrose. Gradient fractions were analyzed for sigma-1 receptors using [3H]+-pentazocine and for sigma-2 receptors using [3H]1,3-di-o-tolylguanidine ([3H]DTG), in the presence of dextrallorphan. Flotillin-2 was assessed by immunoblotting as a marker for lipid rafts. Sigma-2 receptors were found to discretely co-localize with flotillin-2 in lipid raft fractions. However, sigma-1 receptors were found throughout the gradient. Rafts prepared in CHAPS had sigma-2 receptors with normal pharmacological characteristics, whereas those in Triton X-100-prepared rafts had about seven-fold lower affinity for [3H]DTG and other ligands. Thus, sigma-2 receptors are resident in membrane lipid rafts, whereas sigma-1 receptors appear in both raft and non-raft membrane domains. Lipid rafts may play an important role in the mechanism of sigma-2 receptor-induced apoptosis.

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