Somatostatin, and the recently discovered neuropeptide cortistatin, exert their physiological actions via a family of six G protein-coupled receptors (sst1, sst2A, sst2B, sst3, sst4, sst5). Following the cloning of somatostatin receptors significant advances have been made in our understanding of their molecular, pharmacological and signaling properties although much progress remains to be done to define their physiological role in vivo. In this review, the present knowledge regarding neuroanatomical localization, signal transduction pathways, desensitization and internalization properties of somatostatin receptors is summarized. Evidence that somatostatin receptors can form homo- and heterodimers and can physically interact with members of the SSTRIP/Shank/ProSAP1/CortBP1 family is also discussed.
Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.