Int. J. Dev. Biol. 56: 385 - 391 (2012)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.113475dn
© UPV/EHU Press

Expression of serotonergic system components during early Xenopus embryogenesis

Denis A. Nikishin1, Stanislav V. Kremnyov2, Victoria V. Konduktorova3 and Yuri B. Shmukler*,1

1Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Group of Embryophysiology, 2Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Biology, Department of Embryology, Laboratory of Developmental Biophysics and 3Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Development, Moscow, Russia

ABSTRACT Despite abundant research studies on the physiological and biochemical nature of embryonic neurotransmitter function, little is known about the molecular genetic mechanisms involved. The expression of the main components of the serotonergic system during early Xenopus embryogenesis was investigated using RT-PCR, real time PCR and in situ hybridization. Transcripts encoding the serotonin receptors HTR2C and HTR7, as well as the vesicular monoamine transporter VMAT2, the serotonin transporter (SERT) and the serotonin synthesis enzymes tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH2) and aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AAAD) were found to be expressed during the cleavage division stages, whereas the degradation enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) was absent. The main components of the serotonergic system were found to be expressed during the earliest stages of embryonic development. The embryonic transmitter mechanism, its complexity, and its variability among various species are discussed.

Keywords:

serotonin, receptor, transporter, embryo, Xenopus

*Corresponding author e-mail: yurishmukler@yahoo.com