We have established a rapid, sensitive, high-throughput assay that requires one assay condition to detect agonist effects from Gi-, Gs-, and Gq-coupled receptors. We utilized a vector containing a promoter with three multiple response elements, the vasoactive intestinal peptide promoter and a cAMP response element controlling the transcription of the luciferase gene. An adrenergic agonist, para-aminoclonidine, inhibited forskolin-stimulated luciferase expression when cells were cotransfected with the Gi-coupled alpha(2)-C adrenergic receptor and the MRE/CRE reporter vector. Further, we demonstrate that gastrin-releasing peptide, which activates a Gq-coupled GRP receptor, isoproterenol, which activates a Gs-coupled beta-adrenergic receptor, calcium ionophores, and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, a stimulator of protein kinase C, can mediate increases in luciferase expression in the presence of forskolin but not in its absence. The effect at Gi-coupled receptor activation correlates with the phosphorylation of the CRE binding protein (CREB); however, the mechanisms mediating the responses to Gq- and Gs-coupled receptors are more complex. We demonstrate that this assay is useful for pharmacological analysis of both agonists and antagonists and has the potential to associate orphan G-protein-coupled receptors with their corresponding ligands.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.