Current, voltage and pharmacological substrates of a novel GABA receptor in the visual-vestibular system of Hermissenda

Ronald F. Rogers, Daniel M. Fass, Louis D. Matzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In the marine mollusc, Hermissenda crassicornis, Type B photoreceptors exhibit an IPSP to both presynaptic hair cell stimulation and microapplication of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to the terminal branches. It was found that both the endogenous IPSP and the response to exogenously applied GABA were mediated to a large part by an outward current which reversed at approximately -80 mV. Additionally, these hyperpolarizing responses were found to mask a smaller depolarization that was mediated by the reduction of a basal outward current. Both the IPSP and the hyperpolarizing response to GABA, as well as the sublimated depolarizing response to GABA, were attenuated by the K+ channel blocker tetraethylammonium chloride (TEA) and displayed a strong sensitivity to [K+]0, while showing no sensitivity to [Cl-]0 or the Cl- channel blocker picrotoxin. Moreover, iontophoretic injections of stable guanine analogues, GTP[γS] and GDP[βS], into B photoreceptors eliminated both the IPSP and the GABA-induced hyperpolarization, while cholinergically mediated, interphotoreceptor interactions were unaffected. These results suggest that the endogenous receptor is at least partially homologous to the mammalian GABAB class receptor. Consistent with this classification, microapplication of selective GABAB receptor agonist baclofen onto the terminal region of the B photoreceptor resulted in a hyperpolarizing response that was qualitatively similar to that of GABA, although the GABAA agonist muscimol was also active, but less so than either GABA or baclofen. Attempts to block the endogenous IPSP or GABA-induced hyperpolarization by bath application of the GABAA receptor subtype antagonist bicuculline was ineffective and the GABAB receptor subtype antagonist saclofen was only weakly effective. These data demonstrate that the presynaptic hair cell's influence on postsynaptic B photoreceptors is in many respects similar to GABAB mediated responses in the mammalian CNS. This receptor is in some respects unique, however, in terms of its cross-sensitivity to both GABAA and GABAB agonists, its weak sensitivity to saclofen, and its apparent anomalous modulation of multiple K+ conductances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-106
Number of pages14
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 4 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


  • G protein
  • GABA
  • Hermissenda
  • Invertebrate
  • Pharmacology
  • γ-Aminobutyric acid


Dive into the research topics of 'Current, voltage and pharmacological substrates of a novel GABA receptor in the visual-vestibular system of Hermissenda'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this