• biogenic amine;
  • dopamine;
  • G protein-coupled receptor;
  • insect;
  • ion transport;
  • salivary gland;
  • secretion;
  • serotonin


The acinar salivary glands of cockroaches receive a dual innervation from the subesophageal ganglion and the stomatogastric nervous system. Acinar cells are surrounded by a plexus of dopaminergic and serotonergic varicose fibers. In addition, serotonergic terminals lie deep in the extracellular spaces between acinar cells. Excitation-secretion coupling in cockroach salivary glands is stimulated by both dopamine and serotonin. These monoamines cause increases in the intracellular concentrations of cAMP and Ca2+. Stimulation of the glands by serotonin results in the production of a protein-rich saliva, whereas stimulation by dopamine results in saliva that is protein-free. Thus, two elementary secretory processes, namely electrolyte/water secretion and protein secretion, are triggered by different aminergic transmitters. Because of its simplicity and experimental accessibility, cockroach salivary glands have been used extensively as a model system to study the cellular actions of biogenic amines and to examine the pharmacological properties of biogenic amine receptors. In this review, we summarize current knowledge concerning the aminergic control of cockroach salivary glands and discuss our efforts to characterize Periplaneta biogenic amine receptors molecularly. Arch Insect Biochem Physiol 62:141–152, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.