Author(s): Zagon IS, Gibo DM, McLaughlin PJ
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Abstract Endogenous opioids and opioid receptors (i.e. endogenous opioid systems) are expressed during neural ontogeny, and play a role in the development of the nervous system. Using [3H][Met5]-enkephalin, a potent ligand involved in neural growth, particularly cell proliferation, specific and saturable binding was detected in homogenates of 6-day-old rat cerebellum; the data were consistent with a single binding site. Scatchard analysis yielded a binding affinity (Kd) of 2.2 nM and a binding capacity (Bmax) of 22.3 fmol/mg protein. Binding was linear with protein concentration, dependent on time, temperature, and pH, and was sensitive to Na+, Mg2+, and guanyl nucleotides. Optimal binding required protease inhibitors, and pretreatment of the homogenates with trypsin markedly reduced binding, suggesting that the binding site was proteinaceous in character. The [Met5]-enkephalin binding site was an integral membrane protein located in the nuclear fraction. Competition experiments indicated that [Met5] enkephalin was the most potent displacer of [3H][Met5]-enkephalin, and that binding was stereospecific. In the adult rat cerebellum, non-opioid receptor binding of [3H][Met5]-enkephalin was recorded, mu and kappa receptors were also found in the developing rat cerebellum, while mu, delta, and kappa receptors were recorded in adult cerebellar tissue. The function, pharmacological and biochemical characteristics, subcellular distribution, and temporal expression of the [Met5]-enkephalin binding site suggest the presence of a unique opioid receptor, termed zeta (zeta), in the developing nervous system.
This article was published in Brain Res
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology