Identification and characterization of a novel family of Drosophilaβ-adrenergic-like octopamine G-protein coupled receptors


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr Peter Evans, Inositide Laboratory, The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, CB2 4AT, UK. E-mail:


Insect octopamine receptors carry out many functional roles traditionally associated with vertebrate adrenergic receptors. These include control of carbohydrate metabolism, modulation of muscular tension, modulation of sensory inputs and modulation of memory and learning. The activation of octopamine receptors mediating many of these actions leads to increases in the levels of cyclic AMP. However, to date none of the insect octopamine receptors that have been cloned have been convincingly shown to be capable of directly mediating selective and significant increases in cyclic AMP levels. Here we report on the identification and characterization of a novel, neuronally expressed family of three Drosophila G-protein coupled receptors that are selectively coupled to increases in intracellular cyclic AMP levels by octopamine. This group of receptors, DmOctβ1R (CG6919), DmOctβ2R (CG6989) and DmOctβ3R (CG7078) shows homology to vertebrate β-adrenergic receptors. When expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells all three receptors show a strong preference for octopamine over tyramine for the accumulation of cyclic AMP but show unique pharmacological profiles when tested with a range of synthetic agonists and antagonists. Thus, the pharmacological profile of individual insect tissue responses to octopamine might vary with the combination and the degree of expression of the individual octopamine receptors present.