Regulation of protein kinase C Apl II by serotonin receptors in Aplysia


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr Wayne Sossin, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 University Ave Montreal, Quebec H3A-2B4, Canada. E-mail:


J. Neurochem. (2010) 115, 994–1006.


Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5HT) is the neurotransmitter that mediates dishabituation in Aplysia. Serotonin mediates this behavioral change through the reversal of synaptic depression in sensory neurons (SNs). However, the 5HT receptors present in SNs and in particular, the receptor important for activation of protein kinase C (PKC) have not been fully identified. Using a recent genome assembly of Aplysia, we identified new receptors from the 5HT2, 5HT4, and 5HT7 families. Using RT-PCR from isolated SNs, we found that three 5HT receptors, 5HT1Apl(a), 5HT2Apl, and 5HT7Apl were expressed in SNs. These receptors were cloned and expressed in a heterologous system. In this system, 5HT2Apl could significantly translocate PKC Apl II in response to 5HT and this was blocked by pirenperone, a 5HT2 receptor antagonist. Surprisingly, pirenperone did not block 5HT-mediated translocation of PKC Apl II in SNs, nor 5HT-mediated reversal of depression. Expression of 5HT1Apl(a) in SNs or genistein, an inhibitor of tyrosine kinases inhibited both PKC translocation and reversal of depression. These results suggest a non-canonical mechanism for the translocation of PKC Apl II in SNs.