Acquisition by innervated cardiac myocytes of a pertussis toxin-specific regulatory protein linked to the alpha 1-receptor

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Science  11 Oct 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4722, pp. 186-188
DOI: 10.1126/science.2994230


During development, the chronotropic response of rat ventricular myocardium to alpha 1-adrenergic stimulation changes from positive to negative. The alpha 1-agonist phenylephrine increases the rate of contraction of neonatal rat myocytes cultured alone but decreases the rate of contraction when the myocytes are cultured with functional sympathetic neurons. The developmental induction of the inhibitory myocardial response to alpha 1-adrenergic stimulation in intact ventricle and in cultured myocytes was shown to coincide with the functional acquisition of a substrate for pertussis toxin. A 41-kilodalton protein from myocytes cultured with sympathetic neurons and from adult rat myocardium showed, respectively, 2.2- and 16-fold increases in pertussis toxin-associated ADP-ribosylation (ADP, adenosine diphosphate) as compared to controls. In nerve-muscle cultures, inhibition of the actions of this protein by pertussis toxin-specific ADP-ribosylation reversed the mature inhibitory alpha 1-adrenergic response to an immature stimulatory pattern. The results suggest that innervation is associated with the appearance of a functional pertussis toxin substrate by which the alpha 1-adrenergic response becomes linked to a decrease in automaticity.