Distribution and localisation of Gα proteins in the rostral ventrolateral medulla of normotensive and hypertensive rats

Focus on catecholaminergic neurons

L. M. Parker, V. J. Tallapragada, N. N. Kumar, A. K. Goodchild*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    About 860 G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) mediate their actions via heterotrimeric G-proteins. Their activation releases Gα from Gβλ subunits. The type of Gα subunit dictates the major signalling proteins involved: adenylyl cyclase, PLC and rhoGEF. The rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM), containing the rostral C1 (rC1) cell group, sets and maintains the tonic and reflex control of blood pressure and a plethora of inputs converge onto these neurons. We determined the relative abundance of 10 Gα subunit mRNAs, representing the four major families, within the RVLM, using quantitative RT-PCR. In situ hybridisation (ISH) combined with immunohistochemistry (IHC) was used to quantify and compare this expression in rC1 with that in the A1 and A5 cell groups. The relative abundance of Gα subunit mRNAs and a comparison of gene expression levels were quantitatively determined in normotensive and hypertensive rat strains. All 10 Gα mRNAs were detected in the RVLM of Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats with relative abundance such that Gαs > Gαi2 > Gαo > Gαq > GαL > Gα11 > Gαi3 > Gαi1 > Gα12 > Gα13. The high abundance of Gα mRNAs signalling via adenylyl cyclase indicates the importance of associated GPCRs. Within the rC1 and A1 groups similar differential Gα mRNA expression profiles were seen with Gαs being found in all rC1 cells, Gα11 absent and Gαi3 rarely expressed. Thus functionally distinct subgroups exist within the rC1 and A1 cell groups as differing distributions of Gα subunits must reflect the array of GPCRs that influence their activity. In contrast, all A5 cells expressed all Gα mRNAs suggesting a functionally homogeneous group. When the 10 Gα mRNAs of the RVLM in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) were compared quantitatively to Wistar-Kyoto (WKY), only Gαs and Gα12 were significantly elevated. However when the expression in normotensive SD and WKY was compared with SHR no significant differences were evident. These findings demonstrate a range of GPCR signalling capabilities in brainstem neurons important for homeostasis and suggest a prominent role for signalling via adenylyl cyclase.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)20-34
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2012

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