Both the atriopeptides and nitric oxide act in the nervous system by activating guanylyl cyclases to stimulate the production of cyclic GMP. Thus a key to understanding the roles of these messengers is to understand the functions of cyclic GMP in the nervous system. Three potential targets for cyclic GMP have been identified, phosphodiesterases, protein kinases and ion channels. In this study we describe a method using autoradiography to localize specific [3H]-cGMP binding sites in the brain. The specific binding of [3H]-cGMP to rat brain sections was saturable (Bmax = 1.5 pmol/mg protein) and of high affinity (KD = 164 nM). The pharmacological characteristics were consistent with binding to the cGMP-dependent protein kinase. Highest densities of binding were seen in the medial habenula, basal ganglia, locus ceruleus and nucleus of the solitary tract. The CA1 pyramidal cells of the hippocampus, the neocortex, thalamus and cerebellum were also labelled. This method should prove useful in studies of potential targets for cyclic GMP in the brain.
- cGMP-dependent protein kinase
- nitric oxide
- guanylyl cyclase