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Diverse Psychotomimetics Act Through a Common Signaling Pathway

Science  21 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5649, pp. 1412-1415
DOI: 10.1126/science.1089681

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Abstract

Three distinct classes of drugs: dopaminergic agonists (such as D-amphetamine), serotonergic agonists (such as LSD), and glutamatergic antagonists (such as PCP) all induce psychotomimetic states in experimental animals that closely resemble schizophrenia symptoms in humans. Here we implicate a common signaling pathway in mediating these effects. In this pathway, dopamine- and an adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate (cAMP)–regulated phospho-protein of 32 kilodaltons (DARPP-32) is phosphorylated or dephosphorylated at three sites, in a pattern predicted to cause a synergistic inhibition of protein phosphatase–1 and concomitant regulation of its downstream effector proteins glycogen synthesis kinase–3 (GSK-3), cAMP response element–binding protein (CREB), and c-Fos. In mice with a genetic deletion of DARPP-32 or with point mutations in phosphorylation sites of DARPP-32, the effects of D-amphetamine, LSD, and PCP on two behavioral parameters—sensorimotor gating and repetitive movements—were strongly attenuated.

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