Opioid-induced down-regulation of RGS4: role of ubiquitination and implications for receptor cross-talk.
ABSTRACT Regulator of G protein signaling protein 4 (RGS4) acts as a GTPase accelerating protein to modulate μ- and δ- opioid receptor (MOR and DOR, respectively) signaling. In turn, exposure to MOR agonists leads to changes in RGS4 at the mRNA and/or protein level. Here we have used human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells that endogenously express MOR, DOR, and RGS4 to study opioid-mediated down-regulation of RGS4. Overnight treatment of SH-SY5Y cells with the MOR agonist DAMGO or the DOR agonist DPDPE decreased RGS4 protein by ∼60% accompanied by a profound loss of opioid receptors but with no change in RGS4 mRNA. The decrease in RGS4 protein was prevented by the pretreatment with pertussis toxin or the opioid antagonist naloxone. The agonist-induced down-regulation of RGS4 proteins was completely blocked by treatment with the proteasome inhibitors MG132 or lactacystin or high concentrations of leupeptin, indicating involvement of ubiquitin-proteasome and lysosomal degradation. Polyubiquitinated RGS4 protein was observed in the presence of MG132 or the specific proteasome inhibitor lactacystin and promoted by opioid agonist. The loss of opioid receptors was not prevented by MG132, demonstrating a different degradation pathway. RGS4 is a GTPase accelerating protein for both Gα(i/o) and Gα(q) proteins. After overnight treatment with DAMGO to reduce RGS4 protein, signaling at the Gα(i/o)-coupled DOR and the Gα(q)-coupled M(3) muscarinic receptor (M(3)R) was increased but not signaling of the α(2) adrenergic receptor or bradykinin BK(2) receptor, suggesting the development of cross-talk between the DOR and M(3)R involving RGS4.
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ABSTRACT: Mu-opioid receptors (MOR) are the therapeutic target for opiate analgesic drugs and also mediate many of the side-effects and addiction liability of these compounds. MOR is a seven-transmembrane domain receptor that couples to intracellular signaling molecules by activating heterotrimeric G proteins. However, the receptor and G protein do not function in isolation but their activities are moderated by several accessory and scaffolding proteins. One important group of accessory proteins is the regulator of G protein signaling (RGS) protein family, a large family of more than thirty members which bind to the activated Gα subunit of the heterotrimeric G protein and serve to accelerate signal termination. This action negatively modulates receptor signaling and subsequent behavior. Several members of this family, in particular RGS4 and RGS9-2 have been demonstrated to influence MOR signaling and morphine-induced behaviors, including reward. Moreover, this interaction is not unidirectional since morphine has been demonstrated to modulate expression levels of RGS proteins, especially RGS4 and RGS9-2, in a tissue and time dependent manner. In this article, I will discuss our work on the regulation of MOR signaling by RGS protein activity in cultured cell systems in the context of other in vitro and behavioral studies. In addition I will consider implications of the bi-directional interaction between MOR receptor activation and RGS protein activity and whether RGS proteins might provide a suitable and novel target for medications to manage addictive behaviors.Drug and alcohol dependence 11/2011; 121(3):173-80. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.10.027 · 3.28 Impact Factor
- Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 09/2011; 54(21):7433-40. DOI:10.1021/jm101572n · 5.48 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Opiate addiction is characterized by drug tolerance and dependence which involve adaptive changes in μ-opioid receptors (MORs) signaling. Regulators of G-protein signaling RGS9, RGS4 and RGS10 proteins negatively regulate G(αi/o) protein activity modulating MOR function. An important role of RGS proteins in drug addiction has been described but the status of RGS proteins in human brain of opiate addicts remains unknown. The present study evaluated the immunoreactivity levels of RGS4, RGS9 and RGS10 proteins in prefrontal cortex of short- (n = 15) and long-term (n = 21) opiate abusers and in matched control subjects. RGS4 protein was not altered in short-term opiate abusers but, in long-term abusers it was significantly up-regulated (Δ = 29 ± 6%). RGS10 protein expression was significantly decreased in short-term (Δ = -42 ± 7%) but remained unaltered in long-term opiate abusers. RGS9 protein levels in opiate abusers did not differ from matched controls either in the short-term or in the long-term opiate abuser groups. RGS4, RGS9 and RGS10 levels were also studied in brains (frontal cortex) of rats submitted to acute and chronic morphine treatment and to spontaneous and naloxone-precipitated opiate withdrawal. Chronic morphine treatment in rats was associated with an increase in RGS4 protein immunoreactivity (Δ = 28 ± 7%), which persisted in spontaneous (Δ = 35 ± 8%) and naloxone-precipitated withdrawal (Δ = 30 ± 9%) without significant changes in RGS9 and RGS10 proteins. The specific modulation of RGS4 and RGS10 protein expression observed in the prefrontal cortex of opiate abusers might be relevant in the neurobiology of opiate tolerance, dependence and withdrawal. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder'.Neuropharmacology 10/2011; 62(2):1044-51. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.10.015 · 4.82 Impact Factor