The sigma-1 receptor is enriched in postsynaptic sites of C-terminals in mouse motoneurons. An anatomical and behavioral study

Neuroscience. 2010 May 5;167(2):247-55. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.02.022. Epub 2010 Feb 16.


The sigma-1 receptor regulates various ion channel activity and possesses protein chaperone function. Using an antibody against the full sequence of the sigma-1 receptor we detected immunostaining in wild type but not in knockout mice. The receptor was found primarily in motoneurons localized to the brainstem and spinal cord. At the subcellular level the receptor is restricted to large cholinergic postsynaptic densities on the soma of motoneurons and is colocalized with the Kv2.1 potassium channel and the muscarinic type 2 cholinergic receptor. Ultrastructural analysis of the neurons indicates that the immunostained receptor is located close but separate from the plasma membrane, possibly in subsurface cisternae formed from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which are a prominent feature of cholinergic postsynaptic densities. Behavioral testing on a rotorod revealed that Sigma-1 receptor knockout mice remained on the rotorod for significantly less time (a shorter latency period) compared to the wild type mice. Together these data indicate that the sigma-1 receptor may play a role in the regulation of motor behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Stem / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Activity*
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Nerve Endings / metabolism*
  • Receptors, sigma / genetics
  • Receptors, sigma / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / anatomy & histology
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism*
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • Receptors, sigma
  • sigma-1 receptor