Identification and characterization of seven new exon 11-associated splice variants of the rat μ opioid receptor gene, OPRM1.

Department of Neurology and Program in Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA.
Molecular Pain (Impact Factor: 3.65). 01/2011; 7(1):9. DOI: 10.1186/1744-8069-7-9
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The mouse mu opioid receptor (OPRM1) gene undergoes extensive alternative splicing at both the 3'- and 5'-ends of the gene. Previously, several C-terminal variants generated through 3' splicing have been identified in the rat OPRM1 gene. In both mice and humans 5' splicing generates a number of exon 11-containing variants. Studies in an exon 11 knockout mouse suggest the functional importance of these exon 11-associated variants in mediating the analgesic actions of a subset of mu opioids, including morphine-6β-glucuronide (M6G) and heroin, but not others such as morphine and methadone. We now have examined 5' splicing in the rat.
The current studies identified in the rat a homologous exon 11 and seven exon 11-associated variants, suggesting conservation of exon 11 and its associated variants among mouse, rat and human. RT-PCR revealed marked differences in the expression of these variants across several brain regions, implying region-specific mRNA processing of the exon 11-associated variants. Of the seven rat exon 11-associated variants, four encoded the identical protein as found in rMOR-1, two predicted 6 TM variants, and one, rMOR-1H2, generated a novel N-terminal variant in which a stretch of an additional 50 amino acids was present at the N-terminus of the previously established rMOR-1 sequence. When expressed in CHO cells, the presence of the additional 50 amino acids in rMOR-1H2 significantly altered agonist-induced G protein activation with little effect on opioid binding.
The identification of the rat exon 11 and its associated variants further demonstrated conservation of 5' splicing in OPRM1 genes among rodents and humans. The functional relevance of these exon 11 associated variants was suggested by the region-specific expression of their mRNAs and the influence of the N-terminal sequence on agonist-induced G protein coupling in the novel N-terminal variant, rMOR-1H2. The importance of the exon 11-associated variants in mice in M6G and heroin analgesia revealed in the exon 11 knockout mouse implies that these analogous rat variants may also play similar roles in rat. The complexity created by alternative splicing of the rat OPRM1 gene may provide important insights of understanding the diverse responses to the various μ opioids seen in rats.

Download full-text


Available from: Grace Rossi, Dec 20, 2013
21 Reads
  • Source
    • "Hence, compared with morphine, M6G has a lower volume of distribution and clearance rate, a lower permeability across the blood brain barrier and a slower clearance from the brain. The most attractive hypothesis for M6G differential effects is based on the presence of specific MOR splicing variants having higher affinity or specificity than morphine [29] [30]. Interestingly, animal studies revealed that heroin and M6G act through receptors and mechanisms distinct from those of morphine. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Endogenous morphine and its derivatives (morphine-6-glucuronide [M6G]; morphine-3-glucuronide [M3G]) are formed by mammalian cells from dopamine. Changes in the concentrations of endogenous morphine have been demonstrated in several pathologies (sepsis, Parkinson's disease, etc.), and they might be relevant as pathological markers. While endogenous morphine levels are detectable using enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA), mass spectrometry (MS) analysis was, so far, the only approach to detect and quantify M6G. This study describes the preparation of a specific anti-M6G rabbit polyclonal antibody and its validation. The specificity of this antibody was assessed against 30 morphine-related compounds. Then, a M6G-specific ELISA-assay was tested to quantify M6G in the plasma of healthy donors, morphine-treated, and critically ill patients. The antibody raised against M6G displays a strong affinity for M6G, codeine-6-glucuronide, and morphine-3-6-glucuronide, whereas only weak cross-reactivities were observed for the other compounds. Both M6G-ELISA and LC-MS/MS approaches revealed the absence of M6G in the plasma of healthy donors (controls, n = 8). In all positive donors treated with morphine-patch (n = 5), M6G was detected using both M6G-ELISA and LC-MS/MS analysis. Finally, in a study on critically ill patients with circulating endogenous morphine (n = 26), LC-MS/MS analysis revealed that 73% of the positive-patients (19 of 26), corresponding to high M6G-levels in M6G-ELISA, contained M6G. In conclusion, we show that endogenous M6G can be found at higher levels than morphine in the blood of morphine-naive patients. With respect to the interest of measuring endogenous M6G in pathologies, we provide evidences that our ELISA procedure represents a powerful tool as it can easily and specifically detect endogenous M6G levels. © 2013 BioFactors, 2013.
    BioFactors 02/2014; 40(1):113-120. DOI:10.1002/biof.1107 · 4.59 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "To reconcile these findings we propose that buprenorphine acts on a distinct opioid receptor type/subtype coupled with G q/11 , which is consistent with the observation that several splice variants of the μ opioid receptor having different affinities for agonists were identified in human and rodents (Bolan et al., 2004; Xu et al., 2011). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Buprenorphine is an opioid receptor ligand whose mechanism of action is incompletely understood. Using Ca(2+) imaging, we assessed the effects of buprenorphine, β-endorphin, and morphine on cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration [Ca(2+)](i), in rat striatal neurons. Buprenorphine (0.01-1 μM) increased [Ca(2+)](i) in a dose-dependent manner in a subpopulation of rat striatal neurons. The effect of buprenorphine was largely reduced by naloxone, a non-selective opioid receptor antagonist, but not by μ, κ, δ or NOP-selective antagonists. β-Endorphin (0.1 μM) increased [Ca(2+)](i) with a lower amplitude and slower time course than buprenorphine. Similar to buprenorphine, the effect of β-endorphin was markedly decreased by naloxone, but not by opioid-selective antagonists. Morphine (0.1-10 μM), did not affect [Ca(2+)](i) in striatal neurons. Our results suggest that buprenorphine and β-endorphin act on a distinct type/subtype of plasmalemmal opioid receptors or activate intracellular opioid-like receptor(s) in rat striatal neurons.
    Drug and alcohol dependence 12/2011; 123(1-3):277-81. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.11.021 · 3.42 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Opioid analgesics differ in efficacy (Sirohi et al., 2008), affinity for different μ-opioid receptor isoforms (Pasternak, 2004; Xu et al., 2011), activation of transcriptional factors (Zheng et al., 2010a), and β-arrestin-dependent receptor internalization (von Zastrow, 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It has been described that coadministration of opioids with low doses of other analgesics can reduce adverse effects and increase antinociception, but combinations of two μ-opioid receptor agonists have been poorly explored. The objective of this work was threefold: 1) to evaluate the antinociceptive combination of i.c.v. morphine and fentanyl at different doses; 2) to compare the antinociception produced by acute or repeated administration of an effective morphine dose (1 μg) alone, or combined with a low fentanyl dose (1 ng); and 3) to correlate these effects with μ-opioid receptor internalization in periaqueductal gray matter and locus coeruleus. Antinociception was evaluated by the tail-flick test and receptor internalization was analyzed by confocal microscopy in Wistar rats. Drug interactions were examined by administering combinations of opioids in 1:3, 1:1 and 3:1 ratios of their respective ED(50) fractions. For tolerance and internalization studies, animals were i.c.v. injected only once (acute treatment) or twice a day until five administrations were completed. Our results show that morphine and fentanyl have synergistic effects. The combination of 1 ng fentanyl with 1 μg morphine increases the magnitude and duration of antinociception not only after a single injection, but also after five administrations when tolerance develops to morphine alone. Increased and long-lasting antinociception correlates positively with increased β-arrestin 2 activity and μ-opioid receptor internalization in periaqueductal gray matter and locus coeruleus. These results suggest that combined administration of morphine and fentanyl increases long-lasting antinociception and β-arrestin 2 signaling contributes to the combination effects.
    European journal of pharmacology 10/2011; 674(2-3):239-47. DOI:10.1016/j.ejphar.2011.10.034 · 2.53 Impact Factor
Show more