Pharmacology of insect GABA receptors

David B. Sattelle, Sarah C R Lummis, James F H Wong, James J. Rauh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A GABA-operated Cl- channel that is bicuculline-insensitive is abundant in the nervous tissue of cockroach, in housefly head preparations and thorax/abdomen preparations, and in similar preparations from several insect species. Bicuculline-insensitive GABA-operated Cl- channels, which are rare in vertebrates, possess sites of action of benzodiazepines, steroids and insecticides that are pharmacologically-distinct from corresponding sites on vertebrate GABAA receptors. The pharmacological profile of the benzodiazepine-binding site linked to an insect CNS GABA-operated Cl- channel resembles more closely that of vertebrate peripheral benzodiazepine-binding sites. Six pregnane steroids and certain polychlorocycloalkane insecticides, which are active at t-butylbicy-clophosphorothionate (TBPS)-binding sites, also differ in their effectiveness on vertebrate and insect GABA receptors. Radioligand binding and physiological studies indicate that in insects there may be subtypes of the GABA receptor. Molecular biology offers experimental approaches to understanding the basis of this diversity. © 1991 Plenum Publishing Corporation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)363-374
    Number of pages11
    JournalNeurochemical research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1991


    • biochemistry
    • chloride channel
    • GABA receptor
    • insect
    • molecular biology
    • physiology


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