Elizabeth Rex

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Maryland, United States

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Publications (7)22.49 Total impact

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    Katherine A Smith · Elizabeth B Rex · Richard W Komuniecki
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    ABSTRACT: The biogenic amine, tyramine (TA), modulates a number of key processes in nematodes and a number of TA-specific receptors have been identified. In the present study, we have identified a putative TA receptor (Bm4) in the recently completed Brugia malayi genome and compared its pharmacology to its putative Caenorhabditis elegans orthologue, TYRA-2, under identical expression and assay conditions. TYRA-2 and Bm4 are the most closely related C. elegans and B. malayi BA receptors and differ by only 14aa in the TM regions directly involved in ligand binding. Membranes from HEK-293 cells stably expressing Bm4 exhibited specific, saturable, high affinity, [(3)H]LSD and [(3)H]TA binding with K(d)s of 18.1+/-0.93 and 15.1+/-0.2 nM, respectively. More importantly, both TYRA-2 and Bm4 TA exhibited similar rank orders of potencies for a number of potential tyraminergic ligands. However, some significant differences were noted. For example, chloropromazine exhibited an order of magnitude higher affinity for Bm4 than TYRA-2 (pK(i)s of 7.6+/-0.2 and 6.49+/-0.1, respectively). In contrast, TYRA-2 had significantly higher affinity for phentolamine than Bm4. These results highlight the utility of the nearly completed B. malayi genome and the importance of using receptors from individual parasitic nematodes for drug discovery.
    Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 08/2007; 154(1):52-61. DOI:10.1016/j.molbiopara.2007.04.004 · 1.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tyramine appears to regulate key processes in nematodes, such as pharyngeal pumping, and more complex behaviors, such as foraging. Recently, a Caenorhabditis elegans tyramine receptor, SER-2, was identified that is involved in the TA-dependent regulation of these processes. In the present study, we have identified a second C. elegans gene, tyra-2 (F01E11.5) that encodes a tyramine receptor. This is the first identification of multiple tyramine receptor genes in any invertebrate. Membranes from COS-7 cells expressing TYRA-2 bind [(3)H]tyramine with high affinity with a K(d) of 20 +/- 5 nM. Other physiologically relevant biogenic amines, such as octopamine and dopamine, inhibit [(3)H]tyramine binding with much lower affinity (K(i)s of 1.55 +/- 0.5 and 1.78 +/- 0.6 microM, respectively), supporting the identification of TYRA-2 as a tyramine receptor. Indeed, tyramine also dramatically increases GTPgammaS binding to membranes from cells expressing TYRA-2 (EC(50) of 50 +/- 13 nM) and the TA-dependent GTPgammaS binding is PTX-sensitive suggesting that TYRA-2 may couple to Galpha(i/o). Based on fluorescence from tyra::gfp fusion constructs, TYRA-2 expression appears to be exclusively neuronal in the MC and NSM pharyngeal neurons, the AS family of amphid neurons and neurons in the nerve ring, body and tail. Taken together, these results suggest that TYRA-2 encodes a second Galpha(i/o)-coupled tyramine receptor and suggests that TA-dependent neuromodulation may be mediated by multiple receptors and more complex than previously appreciated.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 08/2005; 94(1):181-91. DOI:10.1111/j.1471-4159.2005.03180.x · 4.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Octopamine regulates essential processes in nematodes; however, little is known about the physiological role of its precursor, tyramine. In the present study, we have characterized alternatively spliced Caenorhabditis elegans tyramine receptor isoforms (SER-2 and SER-2A) that differ by 23 amino acids within the mid-region of the third intracellular loop. Membranes prepared from cells expressing either SER-2 or SER-2A bind [3H]lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in the low nanomolar range and exhibit highest affinity for tyramine. Similarly, both isoforms exhibit nearly identical Ki values for a number of antagonists. In contrast, SER-2A exhibits a significantly lower affinity than SER-2 for other physiologically relevant biogenic amines, including octopamine. Pertussis toxin treatment reduces affinity for both tyramine and octopamine, especially for octopamine in membranes from cells expressing SER-2, suggesting that the conformation of the mid-region of the third intracellular loop is dictated by G-protein interactions and is responsible for the differential tyramine/octopamine affinities of the two isoforms. Tyramine reduces forskolin-stimulated cAMP levels in HEK293 cells expressing either isoform with nearly identical IC50 values. Tyramine, but not octopamine, also elevates Ca2+ levels in cells expressing SER-2 and to a lesser extent SER-2A. Most importantly, ser-2 null mutants (pk1357) fail to suppress head movements while reversing in response to nose-touch, suggesting a role for SER-2 in the regulation of foraging behavior, and fail to respond to tyramine in assays measuring serotonin-dependent pharyngeal pumping. These are the first reported functions for SER-2. These results suggest that C. elegans contains tyramine receptors, that individual SER-2 isoforms may differ significantly in their sensitivity to other physiologically relevant biogenic amines, such as octopamine (OA), and that tyraminergic signaling may be important in the regulation of key processes in nematodes.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 01/2005; 91(5):1104-15. DOI:10.1111/j.1471-4159.2004.02787.x · 4.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The biogenic amines, serotonin, octopamine, tyramine and dopamine regulate many essential processes in parasitic nematodes, such as pharyngeal pumping, muscle contraction, and egg-laying, as well as more complex behaviors, such as mechanosensation and foraging, making biogenic amine receptors excellent targets for drug discovery. This review is designed to summarize our knowledge of nematode biogenic amine signaling and preliminarily identify some of the key receptors involved in the regulation of biogenic amine-dependent behaviors through an analysis of the free-living nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans.
    Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 10/2004; 137(1):1-11. DOI:10.1016/j.molbiopara.2004.05.010 · 1.79 Impact Factor
  • Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 03/2004; 133(2):311-3. DOI:10.1016/j.molbiopara.2003.10.008 · 1.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Serotonin (5-HT) receptors play key regulatory roles in nematodes and alternatively spliced 5-HT2 receptor isoforms have been identified in the parasitic nematode, Ascaris suum. 5-HT2As1 and 5-HT2As2 contain different C-termini, and 5-HT2As1Delta4 lacks 42 amino acids at the C-terminus of the third intracellular loop. 5-HT2As1 and 5-HT2As2 exhibited identical pharmacological profiles when stably expressed in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells. Both 5-HT2As isoforms had higher affinity for 5-HT than their closely related Caenorhabditis elegans homolog (5-HT2Ce). This increased 5-HT affinity was not related to the substitution in 5-HT2As1 of F120 for Y in the highly conserved DRY motif found in the second intracellular loop of other 5-HT receptors, since a 5-HT2As1F120Y mutant actually exhibited increased 5-HT affinity compared with that of 5-HT2As1. As predicted, cells expressing either 5-HT2As1 or 5-HT2As2 exhibited a 5-HT-dependent increase in phosphatidylinositol (PI) turnover. In contrast, although 5-HT2As1Delta4 displayed a 10-fold higher affinity for 5-HT and 5-HT agonists than either 5-HT2As1 or 5-HT2As2, 5-HT2As1Delta4 did not couple to either PI turnover or adenyl cyclase activity. Based on RT-PCR, 5-HT2As1 and 5-HT2As2 were more highly expressed in pharynx and body wall muscle and 5-HT2As1Delta4 in nerve cord/hypodermis. This is the first report of different alternatively spliced 5-HT2 receptor isoforms from any system.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 11/2002; 83(2):249-58. DOI:10.1046/j.1471-4159.2002.01067.x · 4.28 Impact Factor
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    Elizabeth Rex · Richard W Komuniecki
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    ABSTRACT: Octopamine (OA) plays an important role in the regulation of a number of key processes in nematodes, including pharyngeal pumping, locomotion and egg-laying. However, while putative OA receptors can be tentatively identified in the Caenorhabditis elegans database, no OA receptors have been functionally characterized from any nematode. We have isolated two cDNAs, ser-2 and ser-2a, encoding putative C.elegans serotonin/OA receptors (C02D4.2, ser-2). The sequences of these cDNAs differ from that predicted by GeneFinder and lack 42 bp of exon 2. In addition, ser-2a appears to be alternatively spliced and lacks a predicted 23 amino acids in the third intracellular loop. COS-7 cells expressing SER-2 bind [3H]LSD in the low nM range and exhibit Kis for tyramine, octopamine and serotonin of 0.07, 2, and 13.7 micro m, respectively. Significantly, tyramine reduces forskolin-stimulated cAMP levels in HEK293 cells stably expressing SER-2 with an IC50 of about 360 nm, suggesting that SER-2 is a tyramine receptor.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 10/2002; 82(6):1352-9. DOI:10.1046/j.1471-4159.2002.01065.x · 4.28 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

169 Citations
22.49 Total Impact Points


  • 2007
    • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
      Maryland, United States
  • 2002–2005
    • University of Toledo
      • Department of Biological Sciences
      Toledo, Ohio, United States