A comparison of the signalling properties of two tyramine receptors from Drosophila



In invertebrates, the phenolamines, tyramine and octopamine, mediate many functional roles usually associated with the catecholamines, noradrenaline and adrenaline, in vertebrates. The α- and β-adrenergic classes of insect octopamine receptor are better activated by octopamine than tyramine. Similarly, the Tyramine 1 subgroup of receptors (or Octopamine/Tyramine receptors) are better activated by tyramine than octopamine. However, recently, a new Tyramine 2 subgroup of receptors was identified, which appears to be activated highly preferentially by tyramine. We examined immunocytochemically the ability of CG7431, the founding member of this subgroup from Drosophila melanogaster, to be internalized in transfected Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells by different agonists. It was only internalized after activation by tyramine. Conversely, the structurally related receptor, CG16766, was internalized by a number of biogenic amines, including octopamine, dopamine, noradrenaline, adrenaline, which also were able to elevate cyclic AMP levels. Studies with synthetic agonists and antagonists confirm that CG16766 has a different pharmacological profile to that of CG7431. Species orthologues of CG16766 were only found in Drosophila species, whereas orthologues of CG7431 could be identified in the genomes of a number of insect species. We propose that CG16766 represents a new group of tyramine receptors, which we have designated the Tyramine 3 receptors.