Arousal Without Anxiety

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Science  03 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5689, pp. 1373
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5689.1373c

Xu et al. have investigated the physiological function and anatomical localization of a recently deorphanized G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) and its peptide ligand, named neuropeptide S (NPS). Nanomolar concentrations of human, rat, or mouse NPS increased intracellular calcium concentrations in cultured cell lines stably transfected with the NPS receptor, suggesting that it couples to Gq proteins. The peptide and its receptor were highly expressed in brain, as well as in thyroid, salivary glands, and mammary glands. In situ hybridization for the NPS precursor, tyrosine hydroxylase, and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) revealed the existence of a pontine cluster of NPS-producing neurons between the locus coeruleus (norepinephrine-producing neurons) and Barrington's nucleus (CRF-producing neurons). NPS both enhanced locomotor activity in mice and promoted several behaviors that are associated with anxiolytic activity. The authors note that this receptor may also be linked to asthma susceptibility (see Laitinen et al., Reports, 9 April 2004, p. 300). — EMA

Neuron 43, 487 (2004).

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