Melatonin receptors activate heteromeric G-protein coupled Kir3 channels

Cole S. Nelson, Jennifer L. Marino, Charles N. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The effects of melatonin on circadian pacemaker activity in the central nervous system may be the result of melatonin receptor activation of G-protein coupled potassium channels which inhibit the action potential firing of neurons. Xenopus laevis and human(1a) melatonin receptors stimulated heteromeric G-protein activated inwardly rectifying potassium channels (Kir3.1/Kir3.2) when expressed in vitro in oocytes. Pertussis toxin reduced iodo-melatonin (87.1% reduction) and melatonin (90.3% reduction) stimulated currents in a time-dependent manner for cells expressing X. laevis receptors. A similar pertussis toxin inhibition was observed for human melatonin receptors (melatonin, 78.9% reduction). This suggests a potential role for heteromeric Kir3 channels in the receptor-mediated actions of melatonin in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-720
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


  • Kir3
  • Melatonin
  • Melatonin receptor
  • Oocyte
  • Pertussis toxin
  • Potassium channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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