Results from previous studies suggested that chronic treatment of rats or C6 glioma cells with antidepressants augments the coupling between Gs and adenylyl cyclase. As these effects on C6 glioma cells are seen in the absence of presynaptic input, several antidepressant drugs may have a direct "postsynaptic" effect on their target cells. It was hypothesized that the target of antidepressant action was some membrane protein that may regulate coupling between G proteins and adenylyl cyclase. To test this, C6 glioma cells were treated with amitriptyline, desipramine, iprindole, or fluoxetine for 3 days. Chlorpromazine served as a control for these treatments. Membrane proteins were extracted sequentially with Triton X-100 and Triton X-114 from C6 glioma cells. Triton X-100 extracted more G(s alpha) in membranes prepared from antidepressant-treated C6 glioma cells than from control groups. In addition, cell fractionation studies revealed that the amount of G(s alpha) in caveolin-enriched domains was reduced after antidepressant treatment and that adenylyl cyclase comigrated with G(s alpha) in the gradients. These data suggest that some postsynaptic component that increases availability of Gs to activate effector molecules, such as adenylyl cyclase, might be a target of antidepressant treatment.