Steroid hormones control brain functions and behaviors by several molecular actions that include the well-known genomic mechanism, in which intracellular steroid receptors regulate gene expression, and mechanisms that involve cell-surface receptors for steroids. Examples of the latter include the steroid modulation of the GABAA receptor complex and the recently discovered corticosteroid receptor in neuronal membranes from an amphibian (Taricha granulosa). This cortico steroid receptor meets the major criteria for being a bona fide receptor, is neuroanatomically and pharmacologically distinct from intracellular glucocorticoid receptors and seems to be coupled to G proteins. Furthermore, this membrane receptor seems to be physiologically relevant, functioning in the inhibitory pathways that control reproductive behaviors in Taricha.
- G proteins
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