Glutamate-gated chloride channels (GluCls) are found only in invertebrate nerve and muscle, where they mediate inhibitory synaptic transmission, and are important target sites of insecticides. Two GluCl subtypes have previously been distinguished in isolated cockroach CNS neurons based on differential pharmacology. The present study characterizes the kinetics and pharmacological properties of desensitizing and non-desensitizing GluCls. Both types of GluCls were sensitive to glutamate and ibotenic acid. The non-desensitizing GluCl subtype was elicited by glutamate with an EC50 of 115.8 μM and a Hill coefficient of 2.6 and was also sensitive to the agonist ibotenic acid with an EC50 of 42 μM and a Hill coefficient of 1.7. The desensitizing and non-desensitizing currents were carried by chloride ions, and occurred either separately or in combination in individual neurons. The GluCls were also found to coexist with and function independently of the GABA-activated chloride channels. The desensitizing and non-desensitizing GluCls exhibited different sensitivities to the ligand-gated channel blocker picrotoxinin. The desensitizing GluCls were blocked only 8% by 30 μM picrotoxinin, whereas the non-desensitizing GluCls were potently blocked by picrotoxinin with an IC 50 of 4.1 μM. The insecticides fipronil and dieldrin at 1 μM inhibited the desensitizing currents by 56 and 13%, respectively, and the non-desensitizing currents by 98 and 43%, respectively. It is concluded that the two types of GluCls found in cockroach neurons exhibit significantly different electrophysiological and pharmacological characteristics.
- Glutamate-gated chloride receptor
- Selective toxicity
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