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May 2015 The Journal of biological chemistry

Convergence of melatonin and serotonin (5-HT) signaling at MT2/5-HT2C receptor heteromers.


Kamal M, Gbahou F, Guillaume JL, Daulat AM, Benleulmi-Chaachoua A, Luka M, Chen P, Kalbasi Anaraki D, Baroncini M, Mannoury la Cour C, Millan MJ, Prevot V, Delagrange P, Jockers R


Inasmuch as the neurohormone melatonin is synthetically derived from serotonin (5-HT), a close interrelationship between both has long been suspected. The present study reveals a hitherto unrecognized cross-talk mediated via physical association of melatonin MT2 and 5-HT2C receptors into functional heteromers. This is of particular interest in light of the « synergistic » melatonin agonist/5-HT2C antagonist profile of the novel antidepressant agomelatine. A suite of co-immunoprecipitation, bioluminescence resonance energy transfer, and pharmacological techniques was exploited to demonstrate formation of functional MT2 and 5-HT2C receptor heteromers both in transfected cells and in human cortex and hippocampus. MT2/5-HT2C heteromers amplified the 5-HT-mediated Gq/phospholipase C response and triggered melatonin-induced unidirectional transactivation of the 5-HT2C protomer of MT2/5-HT2C heteromers. Pharmacological studies revealed distinct functional properties for agomelatine, which shows « biased signaling. » These observations demonstrate the existence of functionally unique MT2/5-HT2C heteromers and suggest that the antidepressant agomelatine has a distinctive profile at these sites potentially involved in its therapeutic effects on major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Finally, MT2/5-HT2C heteromers provide a new strategy for the discovery of novel agents for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.

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