A comparison of the ability of Leu8- And pro8-oxytocin to regulate intracellular Ca21 and Ca21-activated K1 channels at human and marmoset oxytocin receptors S

Marsha L. Pierce, Suneet Mehrotra, Aaryn C. Mustoe, Jeffrey A. French, Thomas F. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The neurohypophyseal hormone oxytocin (OT) regulates biologic functions in both peripheral tissues and the central nervous system. In the central nervous system, OT influences social processes, including peer relationships, maternal-infant bonding, and affiliative social relationships. In mammals, the nonapeptide OT structure is highly conserved with leucine in the eighth position (Leu8-OT). In marmosets (Callithrix), a nonsynon-ymous nucleotide substitution in the OXT gene codes for proline in the eighth residue position (Pro8-OT). OT binds to its cognate G protein–coupled receptor (OTR) and exerts diverse effects, including stimulation (Gs) or inhibition (Gi/o) of adenylyl cyclase, stimulation of potassium channel currents (Gi), and activation of phospholipase C (Gq). Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing marmoset or human oxytocin receptors (mOTRs or hOTRs, respectively) were used to characterize OT signaling. At the mOTR, Pro8-OT was more efficacious than Leu8-OT in measures of Gq activation, with both peptides displaying subnanomolar potencies. At the hOTR, neither the potency nor efficacy of Pro8-OT and Leu8-OT differed with respect to Gq signaling. In both mOTR- and hOTR-expressing cells, Leu8-OT was more potent and modestly more efficacious than Pro8-OT in inducing hyperpolarization. In mOTR cells, Leu8-OT–induced hyperpolarization was modestly inhibited by pretreatment with pertussis toxin (PTX), consistent with a minor role for Gi/o activation; however, the Pro8-OT response in mOTR and hOTR cells was PTX insensitive. These findings are consistent with membrane hyperpolarization being largely mediated by a Gq signaling mechanism leading to Ca21-dependent activation of K1 channels. Evaluation of the influence of apamin, charybdotoxin, paxilline, and TRAM-34 demonstrated involvement of both intermediate and large conductance Ca21-activated K1 channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-385
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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