Receptor activation involving positive allosteric modulation, unlike full agonism, does not result in GABAB receptor desensitization

Tina Gjoni, Stephan Urwyler


Allosteric modulators act more physiologically than orthosteric ligands, targeting only endogenously activated receptors and not their whole population, which is why they are expected to produce less side effects and tolerance. To inspect the role of the positive allosteric modulator GS39783 in GABAB receptor desensitization, we examined receptor function and cell surface expression in a recombinant GABAB cell line and in primary neuronal cultures upon persistent treatments with GABAB agonists, and combinations of agonists and GS39783. The potency of GABA to inhibit 7beta-forskolin-induced cAMP formation in recombinant cells decreased after the exposure to a saturating GABA concentration, but not after a combination of a low GABA concentration and GS39783, that activated the receptor to the same extent. Concordantly, a significant decrease of cell surface receptors was found after GABA-induced desensitization, unlike after the combined treatment with GABA and GS39783. Similar observations regarding receptor function were found in primary neurons for baclofen-induced inhibition of spontaneous Ca2+ oscillations. However, the cell surface receptor density remained unaffected upon baclofen-induced desensitization in the primary neu...Continue Reading


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