Activation of muscarinic receptors in PC12 cells. Correlation between cytosolic Ca2+ rise and phosphoinositide hydrolysis

L. M. Vicentini, A. Ambrosini, F. Di Virgilio, J. Meldolesi, T. Pozzan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The intracellular signals generated by carbachol activation of the muscarinic receptor [release of inositol phosphates as a consequence of phosphoinositide hydrolysis and rise of the cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+](i), measured by quin2)] were studied in intact PC12 pheochromocytoma cells that had been differentiated by treatment with nerve growth factor. When measured in parallel samples of the same cell preparation 30 s after receptor activation, the release of inositol triphosphate and of its possible metabolites, inositol bis- and mono-phosphate, and the [Ca2+](i) rise were found to occur with almost superimposable carbachol concentration curves. At the same time carbachol caused a decrease in the radioactivity of preloaded phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate, the precursor of inositol trisphosphate. Neither the inositol phosphate nor the [Ca2+](i) signal was modified by preincubation of the cells with either purified Bordetella pertussis toxin or forskolin, the direct activator of adenylate cyclase. Both signals were partially inhibited by dibutyryl cyclic AMP, especially when the nucleotide analogue was applied in combination with the phosphodiesterase inhibitors RO 201724 and theophylline. The latter drug alone profoundly inhibited the carbachol-induced [Ca2+](i) rise, with only minimal effect on phosphoinositide hydrolysis. Because of the diverging results obtained with forskolin on the one hand, dibutyryl cyclic AMP and phosphodiesterase inhibitors on the other, the effects of the latter drugs are considered to be pharmacological, independent of the intracellular cyclic AMP concentration. Two further drugs tested, mepacrine and MY5445, inhibited phosphoinositide hydrolysis at the same time as the 45Ca2+ influx stimulated by carbachol. Taken together, our results concur with previous evidence obtained with permeabilized cells and cell fractions to indicate phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate hydrolysis and [Ca2+](i) rise as two successive events in the intracellular transduction cascade initiated by receptor activation. The strict correlation between the carbachol concentration curves for inositol trisphosphate generation and [Ca2+](i) rise, and the inhibition by theophylline of the Ca2+ signal without major effects on inositol phosphate generation, satisfy important requirements of the abovementioned interpretation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-562
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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