The effect of pertussis toxin on alpha-2-adrenoceptor-mediated pigment migration in fish melanophores

J. O.G. Karlsson, N. Grundström, J. E.S. Wikberg, R. Friedman, R. G.G. Andersson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The aggregation of melanin-granules within fish pigment cells (melanophores) can be elicited either by electrical stimulation of intrinsic nerves or by the addition of adrenergic agonists. The pigment aggregation seems to be mediated by alpha-2-adrenoceptors. In this investigation we have used various agonists and antagonists (noradrenaline, (+)- and (-)-adrenaline, isoprenaline, yohimbine and prazosin) to further characterize the pigment-aggregating receptor of Labrus ossifagus. All the results obtained support the notion of alpha-2-adrenoceptor-mediated pigment aggregation. The pertussis toxin, islet-activating protein (IAP), is known to inhibit the alpha-2-adrenoceptor-mediated signal transduction in mammals. We have used IAP to investigate whether fish melanophore alpha-2-adrenoceptors are also inhibited by this toxin. We found that IAP inactivated the alpha-2-adrenoceptor-mediated pigment aggregation in a dose-dependent manner. The inhibitory IAP- effect had a remarkably short onset-time in the melanophores (maximal effect was obtained within 10 min of incubation). Interestingly, binding of an agonist (noradrenaline) to the receptors prevented IAP from exerting its inhibitory action, whereas binding of an antagonist (yohimbine) gave no protection against the IAP-inactivation. In conclusion, the pigment-aggregating receptors of melanophores of L. ossifagus are very similar to the mammalian alpha-2-adrenoceptors. It is possible to inactivate the melanophore receptor system with IAP and this inactivation has a remarkably short onset-time. Stimulation of the alpha-2-adrenoceptors prevents IAP from inactivating the receptor system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1043-1049
Number of pages7
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 16 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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