Characterization of novel splice variants of the PAC(1) receptor in human neuroblastoma cells : consequences for signaling by VIP and PACAP

Lutz, E.M. and Ronaldson, E. and Shaw, P. and Johnson, M.S. and Holland, P.J. and Mitchell, R. (2006) Characterization of novel splice variants of the PAC(1) receptor in human neuroblastoma cells : consequences for signaling by VIP and PACAP. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, 31 (2). pp. 193-209. (

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Expression of VPAC and PAC1 receptor isoforms was determined in six neuroblastoma cell lines as well as in human embryonic and adult brain using reverse transcriptase PCR and quantitative PCR. PAC1 receptor splice variants missing a 21 amino acid sequence in the amino terminal domain were found to be the major receptor variants in the neuroblastoma cell lines and also were highly expressed in embryonic brain compared to adult brain. In four of the neuroblastoma cell lines, VIP and PACAP stimulated cyclic AMP production with different potencies and levels of maximal stimulation. High potency and greatest maximal stimulation of cyclic AMP for each peptide were recorded in SH-SY5Y cells, indicating the presence of high affinity VIP and PACAP receptors. Further characterization of specific VPAC and PAC1 receptor isoforms was carried out in the SH-SY5Y cell line, where along with known PAC1 receptor splice variants and the VPAC2 receptor, a number of novel PAC1 receptor splice variants were identified. The comparatively low level expression of the VPAC2 receptor along with the poor responsiveness of SH-SY5Y cells to the VPAC2 receptor-specific agonist Ro 25-1553 indicated that this receptor did not contribute significantly to the observed VIP responses. When the individual PAC1 receptor isoforms were expressed in COS 7 cells, the ability of VIP to activate cyclic AMP production was increased more than 50-fold at the majority of the PAC1 receptor variants lacking the 21 amino acid amino terminal domain sequence compared to those with the complete domain. Smaller changes were seen in the potency of PACAP-38. Similar trends were seen with inositol phosphate responses, where in each case agonist potencies were lower than for cyclic AMP production. The results of this study show that the combination of different amino terminal and intracellular loop 3 splicing variants in the PAC1 receptor dictates the ability of agonists, particularly VIP, to activate signaling pathways. VIP has considerably greater potency at most PAC1 receptors with the short amino terminal domain, and these therefore may mediate physiological effects of both VIP and PACAP. Furthermore, there may be a phenotypic switch in the expression of different PAC1 receptor amino terminal splice variants between embryonic and mature nervous system, indicating that regulation of this event may have an important role in VIP/PACAP function, particularly in the developing nervous system.