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To examine the functional regulation of serotonin transporter (SERT) by cAMP, we examined whether SERT uptake activity was affected by dibutyryl cAMP (dbcAMP), a cAMP analog, in SERT-transfected RN46A cells derived from embryonic rat raphe neurons. Long-term exposure (> 4 h) of dbcAMP (1 mM) to SERT-expressing RN46A cells significantly up-regulated SERT activity. In addition, a selective PKA activator, but not a selective EPAC activator, increased the serotonin uptake activity of SERT, suggesting that this regulation was mainly mediated via PKA. Time-dependent up-regulation of SERT activity by dbcAMP was accompanied by neural differentiation of RN46A cells. Further investigation of dbcAMP-induced up-regulation of SERT revealed that dbcAMP elevated SERT protein levels without affecting SERT mRNA transcription. The chase assay for residual SERT protein revealed that dbcAMP slowed its degradation rate. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that plasma membrane-localized SERT was more abundant in dbcAMP-treated cells than in non-treated cells, suggesting that dbcAMP up-regulated SERT by decreasing its degradation and increasing its plasma membrane expression. These results raise the possibility that the elevation of intracellular cAMP up-regulated SERT function through a mechanism linked to the differentiation of RN46A cells and show the importance of SERT function during the developmental process of the serotonergic nervous system.


Hikaru Yammamoto, Shigeru Tanaka, Anna Tanaka, Izumi Hide, Takahiro Seki, Norio Sakai. Long-term exposure of RN46A cells expressing serotonin transporter (SERT) to a cAMP analog up-regulates SERT activity and is accompanied by neural differentiation of the cells. Journal of pharmacological sciences. 2013;121(1):25-38

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PMID: 23269237

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