"Freeze!" - Arrestin Antibodies Used in New Serotonin Syndrome Study

Tue, 12/07/2010 - 07:47


The beta-arrestin family regulate receptor binding of G-proteins, a group of seven transmembrane receptor proteins which includes the adrenergic, dopamine and serotonin receptors. Recently, arrestin antibodies were used in a study into Serotonin Syndrome, a hallucinogenic disorder which can follow SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) use.

The beta-arrestin family are found at postsynaptic receptor sites, where they interact with GRK2 and GRK3 proteins to desensitize G-protein-coupled receptors, dampening the cellular response to stimuli such as hormones, neurotransmitters and sensory signals. For example, S-Arrestin/Arrestin beta 1 is a soluble photoreceptor protein highly expressed in the retina of the eye, as well as the pineal gland. Encoded by the SAG gene, it plays a desensitization role in the photoactivated transduction cascade, inhibiting the coupling of transducin to rhodopsin – an essential stage in the conversion of light into receivable electrochemical signals.

Immunohistochemistry: Arrestin beta 1 Antibody

Recently, C. Schmidt, et al. of the Scripps Research Institute, used beta-arrestin antibodies to investigate hallucinations arising as a result of prescribed and recreational drugs. Serotonin signalling at the serotonin 2A receptor site was shown to be specifically controlled by Arrestin beta 2. Behavioral studies revealed that head-twitching - a common effect of serotonin 2A activation – was also seen in animals given the hallucinogenic drug N-methyltryptamine. However, although it activated the same receptor as serotonin (S-2A), the hallucinogen was not recognized by beta-A rrestin beta 2. This proved serotonin utilizes a very specific pathway, with side-effects independent of those caused by hallucinogens.

The results supported a hypothesis that serotonin-induced hallucinations are caused by metabolites generated as a result of elevated serotonin levels. Future antibody studies could look at methods of preserving serotonin’s beneficial effects, while blocking the unwanted side effects of its metabolites.

Novus Biologicals offers many Arrestin reagents for your research needs including:

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