[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the last decade an increasing number of studies have focused on the ability of G protein-coupled receptors to form heteromers and explored how receptor heteromerization modulates the binding, signaling and trafficking properties of individual receptors. Most of these studies were carried out in heterologous cells expressing epitope tagged receptors. Very little information is available about the in vivo physiological role of G protein-coupled receptor heteromers due to a lack of tools to detect their presence in endogenous tissue. Recent advances such as the generation of mouse models expressing fluorescently labeled receptors, of TAT based peptides that can disrupt a given heteromer pair, or of heteromer-selective antibodies that recognize the heteromer in endogenous tissue have begun to elucidate the physiological and pathological roles of receptor heteromers. In this review we have focused on heteromer-selective antibodies and describe how a subtractive immunization strategy can be successfully used to generate antibodies that selectively recognize a desired heteromer pair. We also describe the uses of these antibodies to detect the presence of heteromers, to study their properties in endogenous tissues, and to monitor changes in heteromer levels under pathological conditions. Together, these findings suggest that G protein-coupled receptor heteromers represent unique targets for the development of drugs with reduced side-effects.
Frontiers in Pharmacology 12/2014; 5:268. DOI:10.3389/fphar.2014.00268 · 3.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most neuroendocrine peptides are generated in the secretory compartment by proteolysis of the precursors at classical cleavage sites consisting of basic residues by a well-studied family of endopeptidases. In contrast, a subset of bioactive peptides is generated by processing at non-classical cleavage sites that do not contain basic residues. Neither the peptidases responsible for non-classical cleavages nor the compartment involved in such processing have been well established. Members of the endothelin converting enzyme (ECE) family are considered good candidate enzymes since they exhibit functional properties that are consistent with such a role. In this study we have explored a role for ECE2 in endocytic processing of δ opioid peptides and its effect on modulating δ opioid receptor function by using selective inhibitors of ECE2 that we previously identified by homology modeling and virtual screening of a library of small molecules. We find that agonist treatment leads to intracellular co-localization of ECE2 with δ opioid receptors. Furthermore, selective inhibitors of ECE2 and reagents that increase the pH of the acidic compartment impair receptor recycling by protecting the endocytosed peptide from degradation. This, in turn, leads to a substantial decrease in surface receptor signaling. Finally, we show that treatment of primary neurons with the ECE2 inhibitor during recycling leads to increased intracellular co-localization of the receptors and ECE2 and this leads to decreased receptor recycling and signaling by the surface receptors. Together, these results support a role for differential modulation of opioid receptor signaling by postendocytic processing of peptide agonists by ECE2.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple peptide systems, including neuropeptide Y, leptin, ghrelin, and others, are involved with the control of food intake and body weight. The peptide LENSSPQAPARRLLPP (BigLEN) has been proposed to act through an unknown receptor to regulate body weight. In the present study, we used a combination of ligand-binding and receptor-activity assays to characterize a Gαi/o protein-coupled receptor activated by BigLEN in the mouse hypothalamus and Neuro2A cells. We then selected orphan G protein-coupled receptors expressed in the hypothalamus and Neuro2A cells and tested each for activation by BigLEN. G protein-coupled receptor 171 (GPR171) is activated by BigLEN, but not by the C terminally truncated peptide LittleLEN. The four C-terminal amino acids of BigLEN are sufficient to bind and activate GPR171. Overexpression of GPR171 leads to an increase, and knockdown leads to a decrease, in binding and signaling by BigLEN and the C-terminal peptide. In the hypothalamus GPR171 expression complements the expression of BigLEN, and its level and activity are elevated in mice lacking BigLEN. In mice, shRNA-mediated knockdown of hypothalamic GPR171 leads to a decrease in BigLEN signaling and results in changes in food intake and metabolism. The combination of GPR171 shRNA together with neutralization of BigLEN peptide by antibody absorption nearly eliminates acute feeding in food-deprived mice. Taken together, these results demonstrate that GPR171 is the BigLEN receptor and that the BigLEN-GPR171 system plays an important role in regulating responses associated with feeding and metabolism in mice.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2013; 110(40). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1312938110 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: G protein-coupled receptors play a pivotal role in many physiological signaling pathways. Mounting evidence suggests that G protein-coupled receptors, including opioid receptors, form dimers, and dimerization is necessary for receptor maturation, signaling, and trafficking. However, the physiological role of dimerization in vivo has not been well-explored because of the lack of tools to study these dimers in endogenous systems. To address this problem, we previously generated antibodies to μ-δ opioid receptor (μOR-δOR) dimers and used them to study the pharmacology and signaling by this heteromer. We also showed that the heteromer exhibits restricted distribution in the brain and that its abundance is increased in response to chronic morphine administration. Thus, the μOR-δOR heteromer represents a potentially unique target for the development of therapeutics to treat pain. Here, we report the identification of compounds targeting μOR-δOR heteromers through high-throughput screening of a small-molecule library. These compounds exhibit activity in μOR-δOR cells but not μOR or δOR cells alone. Among them, CYM51010 was found to be a μOR-δOR-biased ligand, because its activity is blocked by the μOR-δOR heteromer antibody. Notably, systemic administration of CYM51010 induced antinociceptive activity similar to morphine, and chronic administration of CYM51010 resulted in lesser antinociceptive tolerance compared with morphine. Taken together, these results suggest that CYM51010, a μOR-δOR-biased ligand, could serve as a scaffold for the development of a unique type (heteromer-biased) of drug that is more potent and without the severe side effects associated with conventional clinical opioids.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2013; 110(29). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1222044110 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the past decade, an increasing number of studies have shown that G-protein-coupled receptors including opioid and cannabinoid receptors associate to form heteromers. Moreover, G-protein-coupled receptor heteromerization leads to the modulation of the binding, signaling, and trafficking properties of individual receptors. Although very little information is available about the physiological role of receptor heteromers, some studies have shown that the levels of some heteromers are upregulated in disease states such as preeclamptic pregnancy, schizophrenia, Parkinson's, ethanol-induced liver fibrosis, and development of tolerance to morphine. The recent generation of antibodies that selectively recognize distinct heteromers and, of peptides that selectively disrupt them, have started to elucidate the contribution of heteromers to the disease state. Here, we describe the methods for the generation of heteromer-selective antibodies and elucidation of their levels and localization under normal and pathological conditions.
Methods in enzymology 01/2013; 521:219-38. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-12-391862-8.00012-0 · 2.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The diversity of receptor signaling is increased by receptor heteromerization leading to dynamic regulation of receptor function. While a number of studies have demonstrated that family A G-protein-coupled receptors are capable of forming heteromers in vitro, the role of these heteromers in normal physiology and disease has been poorly explored. In this study, direct interactions between CB(1) cannabinoid and delta opioid receptors in the brain were examined. Additionally, regulation of heteromer levels and signaling in a rodent model of neuropathic pain was explored. First we examined changes in the expression, function and interaction of these receptors in the cerebral cortex of rats with a peripheral nerve lesion that resulted in neuropathic pain. We found that, following the peripheral nerve lesion, the expression of both cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB(1)R) and the delta opioid receptor (DOR) are increased in select brain regions. Concomitantly, an increase in CB(1)R activity and decrease in DOR activity was observed. We hypothesize that this decrease in DOR activity could be due to heteromeric interactions between these two receptors. Using a CB(1)R-DOR heteromer-specific antibody, we found increased levels of CB(1)R-DOR heteromer protein in the cortex of neuropathic animals. We subsequently examined the functionality of these heteromers by testing whether low, non-signaling doses of CB(1)R ligands influenced DOR signaling in the cortex. We found that, in cortical membranes from animals that experienced neuropathic pain, non-signaling doses of CB(1)R ligands significantly enhanced DOR activity. Moreover, this activity is selectively blocked by a heteromer-specific antibody. Together, these results demonstrate an important role for CB(1)R-DOR heteromers in altered cortical function of DOR during neuropathic pain. Moreover, they suggest the possibility that a novel heteromer-directed therapeutic strategy for enhancing DOR activity, could potentially be employed to reduce anxiety associated with chronic pain.
PLoS ONE 12/2012; 7(12):e49789. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0049789 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Agents that activate cannabinoid receptor pathways have been tested as treatments for cachexia, nausea or neuropathic pain in HIV-1/AIDS patients. The cannabinoid receptors (CB(1)R and CB(2)R) and the HIV-1 co-receptors, CCR5 and CXCR4, all signal via Gαi-coupled pathways. We hypothesized that drugs targeting cannabinoid receptors modulate chemokine co-receptor function and regulate HIV-1 infectivity. We found that agonism of CB(2)R, but not CB(1)R, reduced infection in primary CD4+ T cells following cell-free and cell-to-cell transmission of CXCR4-tropic virus. As this change in viral permissiveness was most pronounced in unstimulated T cells, we investigated the effect of CB(2)R agonism on to CXCR4-induced signaling following binding of chemokine or virus to the co-receptor. We found that CB(2)R agonism decreased CXCR4-activation mediated G-protein activity and MAPK phosphorylation. Furthermore, CB(2)R agonism altered the cytoskeletal architecture of resting CD4+ T cells by decreasing F-actin levels. Our findings suggest that CB(2)R activation in CD4+ T cells can inhibit actin reorganization and impair productive infection following cell-free or cell-associated viral acquisition of CXCR4-tropic HIV-1 in resting cells. Therefore, the clinical use of CB(2)R agonists in the treatment of AIDS symptoms may also exert beneficial adjunctive antiviral effects against CXCR4-tropic viruses in late stages of HIV-1 infection.
PLoS ONE 03/2012; 7(3):e33961. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0033961 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A fundamental question in G protein coupled receptor biology is how a single ligand acting at a specific receptor is able to induce a range of signaling that results in a variety of physiological responses. We focused on Type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB₁R) as a model GPCR involved in a variety of processes spanning from analgesia and euphoria to neuronal development, survival and differentiation. We examined receptor dimerization as a possible mechanism underlying expanded signaling responses by a single ligand and focused on interactions between CB₁R and delta opioid receptor (DOR). Using co-immunoprecipitation assays as well as analysis of changes in receptor subcellular localization upon co-expression, we show that CB₁R and DOR form receptor heteromers. We find that heteromerization affects receptor signaling since the potency of the CB₁R ligand to stimulate G-protein activity is increased in the absence of DOR, suggesting that the decrease in CB₁R activity in the presence of DOR could, at least in part, be due to heteromerization. We also find that the decrease in activity is associated with enhanced PLC-dependent recruitment of arrestin3 to the CB₁R-DOR complex, suggesting that interaction with DOR enhances arrestin-mediated CB₁R desensitization. Additionally, presence of DOR facilitates signaling via a new CB₁R-mediated anti-apoptotic pathway leading to enhanced neuronal survival. Taken together, these results support a role for CB₁R-DOR heteromerization in diversification of endocannabinoid signaling and highlight the importance of heteromer-directed signal trafficking in enhancing the repertoire of GPCR signaling.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(1):e29239. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0029239 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The peripheral δ opioid receptor (DOR) is an attractive target for analgesic drug development. There is evidence that DOR can form heteromers with the κ-opioid receptor (KOR). As drug targets, heteromeric receptors offer an additional level of selectivity and, because of allosteric interactions between protomers, functionality. Here we report that selective KOR antagonists differentially altered the potency and/or efficacy of DOR agonists in primary cultures of adult rat peripheral sensory neurons and in a rat behavioral model of thermal allodynia. In vitro, the KOR antagonist nor-binaltorphimine (nor-BNI) enhanced the potency of [D-Pen(2,5)]-enkephalin (DPDPE), decreased the potency of [D-Ala(2),D-Leu(5)]-enkephalin (DADLE), and decreased the potency and efficacy of 4-[(R)-[(2S,5R)-4-allyl-2,5-dimethylpiperazin-1-yl](3-methoxyphenyl)methyl]-N,N-diethylbenzamide (SNC80) to inhibit prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2))-stimulated adenylyl cyclase activity. In vivo, nor-BNI enhanced the effect of DPDPE and decreased the effect of SNC80 to inhibit PGE(2)-stimulated thermal allodynia. In contrast to nor-BNI, the KOR antagonist 5'-guanidinonaltrindole (5'-GNTI) reduced the response of DPDPE both in cultured neurons and in vivo. Evidence for DOR-KOR heteromers in peripheral sensory neurons included coimmunoprecipitation of DOR with KOR, a DOR-KOR heteromer selective antibody augmented the antinociceptive effect of DPDPE in vivo, and the DOR-KOR heteromer agonist 6'-GNTI inhibited adenylyl cyclase activity in vitro as well as PGE(2)-stimulated thermal allodynia in vivo. Taken together, these data suggest that DOR-KOR heteromers exist in rat primary sensory neurons and that KOR antagonists can act as modulators of DOR agonist responses most likely through allosteric interactions between the protomers of the DOR-KOR heteromer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: J. Neurochem. (2011) 119, 294–302.
Ketamine, a clinically relevant drug, has been shown to enhance opioid-induced analgesia and prevent hyperalgesia. However, the molecular mechanisms involved are not clearly understood. As previous studies found that activation of opioid receptors leads to the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases, we investigated whether ketamine could modulate μ-opioid receptor (μOR)-mediated ERK1/2 phosphorylation. We find that acute treatment with ketamine enhances (∼2- to 3-fold) the levels of opioid-induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation in recombinant as well as cells endogenously expressing μOR. Interestingly, we find that in the absence of ketamine ERK1/2 signaling is desensitized 10 min after opioid exposure whereas in its presence significant levels (∼3-fold over basal) are detected. In addition, ketamine increases the rate of resensitization of opioid-mediated ERK1/2 signaling (15 min in its presence vs. 30 min in its absence). These results suggest that ketamine increases the effectiveness of opiate-induced signaling by affecting multiple mechanisms. In addition, these effects are observed in heterologous cells expressing μOR suggesting a non-NMDA receptor-mediated action of ketamine. Together this could, in part, account for the observed effects of ketamine on the enhancement of the analgesic effects of opiates as well as in the duration of opiate-induced analgesia.
Journal of Neurochemistry 06/2011; 119(2):294-302. DOI:10.1111/j.1471-4159.2011.07361.x · 4.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mechanism of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signal integration is controversial. While GPCR assembly into hetero-oligomers facilitates signal integration of different receptor types, cross-talk between Gαi- and Gαq-coupled receptors is often thought to be oligomerization independent. In this study, we examined the mechanism of signal integration between the Gαi-coupled type I cannabinoid receptor (CB(1)R) and the Gαq-coupled AT1R. We find that these two receptors functionally interact, resulting in the potentiation of AT1R signalling and coupling of AT1R to multiple G proteins. Importantly, using several methods, that is, co-immunoprecipitation and resonance energy transfer assays, as well as receptor- and heteromer-selective antibodies, we show that AT1R and CB(1)R form receptor heteromers. We examined the physiological relevance of this interaction in hepatic stellate cells from ethanol-administered rats in which CB(1)R is upregulated. We found a significant upregulation of AT1R-CB(1)R heteromers and enhancement of angiotensin II-mediated signalling, as compared with cells from control animals. Moreover, blocking CB(1)R activity prevented angiotensin II-mediated mitogenic signalling and profibrogenic gene expression. These results provide a molecular basis for the pivotal role of heteromer-dependent signal integration in pathology.
The EMBO Journal 06/2011; 30(12):2350-63. DOI:10.1038/emboj.2011.139 · 10.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chemokines are small secreted proteins with chemoattractant properties that play a key role in inflammation, metastasis, and embryonic development. We previously demonstrated a nonchemotactic role for one such chemokine pair, stromal cell-derived factor-1α and its G-protein coupled receptor, CXCR4. Stromal cell-derived factor-1/CXCR4 are expressed on cardiac myocytes and have direct consequences on cardiac myocyte physiology by inhibiting contractility in response to the nonselective β-adrenergic receptor (βAR) agonist, isoproterenol. As a result of the importance of β-adrenergic signaling in heart failure pathophysiology, we investigated the underlying mechanism involved in CXCR4 modulation of βAR signaling. Our studies demonstrate activation of CXCR4 by stromal cell-derived factor-1 leads to a decrease in βAR-induced PKA activity as assessed by cAMP accumulation and PKA-dependent phosphorylation of phospholamban, an inhibitor of SERCA2a. We determined CXCR4 regulation of βAR downstream targets is β2AR-dependent. We demonstrated a physical interaction between CXCR4 and β2AR as determined by coimmunoprecipitation, confocal microscopy, and BRET techniques. The CXCR4-β2AR interaction leads to G-protein signal modulation and suggests the interaction is a novel mechanism for regulating cardiac myocyte contractility. Chemokines are physiologically and developmentally relevant to myocardial biology and represent a novel receptor class of cardiac modulators. The CXCR4-β2AR complex could represent a hitherto unknown target for therapeutic intervention.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mu and delta types of opioid receptors form heteromers that exhibit pharmacological and functional properties distinct from those of homomeric receptors. To characterize these complexes in the brain, we generated antibodies that selectively recognize the mu-delta heteromer and blocked its in vitro signaling. With these antibodies, we showed that chronic, but not acute, morphine treatment caused an increase in the abundance of mu-delta heteromers in key areas of the central nervous system that are implicated in pain processing. Because of its distinct signaling properties, the mu-delta heteromer could be a therapeutic target in the treatment of chronic pain and addiction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: G-protein-coupled receptors are important molecular targets in drug discovery. These receptors play a pivotal role in physiological signaling pathways and are targeted by nearly 50% of currently available drugs. Mounting evidence suggests that G-protein-coupled receptors form dimers, and various studies have shown that dimerization is necessary for receptor maturation, signaling, and trafficking. However, the physiological implications of dimerization in vivo have not been well explored because detection of GPCR dimers in endogenous systems has been a challenging task. One exciting new approach to this challenge is the generation of antibodies against specific G-protein-coupled receptor dimers. Such antibodies could be used as tools for characterization of heteromer-specific function; as reagents for their purification, tissue localization, and regulation in vivo; and as probes for mapping their functional domains. In addition, such antibodies could serve as alternative ligands for G-protein-coupled receptor heteromers. Thus, heteromer-specific antibodies represent novel tools for the exploration and manipulation of G-protein-coupled receptor-dimer pharmacology.
Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine A Journal of Translational and Personalized Medicine 07/2010; 77(4):374-80. DOI:10.1002/msj.20199 · 1.62 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Opiate addiction is a chronic, relapsing behavioral disorder where learned associations that develop between the abused opiate and the environment in which it is consumed are brought about through Pavlovian (classical) conditioning processes. However, the signaling mechanisms/pathways regulating the mechanisms that underlie the responses to opiate-associated cues or the development of sensitization as a consequence of repeated context-independent administration of opiates are unknown. In this study we examined the phosphorylation levels of various classic signaling molecules in brain regions implicated in addictive behaviors after acute and repeated morphine administration. An unbiased place conditioning protocol was used to examine changes in phosphorylation that are associated with (1) the expression of the rewarding effects of morphine and (2) the sensitization that develops to this effect. We also examined the effects of a delta-receptor antagonist on morphine-induced conditioned behavior and on the phosphorylation of classic signaling molecules in view of data showing that blockade of delta-opioid receptor (deltaOR) prevents the development of sensitization to the rewarding effects of morphine. We find that CREB phosphorylation is specifically induced upon the expression of a sensitized response to morphine-induced conditioned behavior in brain areas related to memory consolidation, such as the hippocampus and cortex. A similar effect is also observed, albeit to a lesser extent, in the case of the GluR1 subunit of AMPA glutamate receptor. These increases in the phosphorylation levels of CREB and pGluR1 are significantly blocked by pretreatment with a deltaOR antagonist. These results indicate a critical role for phospho-CREB, AMPA, and deltaOR activities in mediating the expression of a sensitized response to morphine-dependent conditioned behavior.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 12/2009; 35(4):955-66. DOI:10.1038/npp.2009.199 · 7.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hemopressin (Hp), a 9-residue alpha-hemoglobin-derived peptide, was previously reported to function as a CB(1) cannabinoid receptor antagonist (1) . In this study, we report that mass spectrometry (MS) data from peptidomics analyses of mouse brain extracts identified N-terminally extended forms of Hp containing either three (RVD-Hpalpha) or two (VD-Hpalpha) additional amino acids, as well as a beta-hemoglobin-derived peptide with sequence similarity to that of hemopressin (VD-Hpbeta). Characterization of the alpha-hemoglobin-derived peptides using binding and functional assays shows that in contrast to Hp, which functions as a CB(1) cannabinoid receptor antagonist, both RVD-Hpalpha and VD-Hpalpha function as agonists. Studies examining the increase in the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 levels or release of intracellular Ca(2+) indicate that these peptides activate a signal transduction pathway distinct from that activated by the endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, or the classic CB(1) agonist, Hu-210. This finding suggests an additional mode of regulation of endogenous cannabinoid receptor activity. Taken together, these results suggest that the CB(1) receptor is involved in the integration of signals from both lipid- and peptide-derived signaling molecules.
The FASEB Journal 05/2009; 23(9):3020-9. DOI:10.1096/fj.09-132142 · 5.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mu opioid receptors are G protein-coupled receptors that mediate the pain-relieving effects of clinically used analgesics, such as morphine. Accumulating evidence shows that mu-delta opioid heterodimers have a pharmacologic profile distinct from those of the mu or delta homodimers. Because the heterodimers exhibit distinct signaling properties, the protein and mechanism regulating their levels have significant effects on morphine-mediated physiology. We report the characterization of RTP4, a Golgi chaperone, as a regulator of the levels of heterodimers at the cell surface. We show that the association with RTP4 protects mu-delta receptors from ubiquitination and degradation. This leads to increases in surface heterodimer levels, thereby affecting signaling. Thus, the oligomeric organization of opioid receptors is controlled by RTP4, and this governs their membrane targeting and functional activity. This work is the first report of the identification of a chaperone involved in the regulation of the biogenesis of a family A GPCR heterodimer. The identification of such factors as RTP4 controlling dimerization will provide insight into the regulation of heterodimers in vivo. This has implications in the modulation of pharmacology of their endogenous ligands, and in the development of drugs with specific therapeutic effects.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2008; 105(41):16045-50. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0804106105 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antibodies are components of the body's humoral immune system that are generated in response to foreign pathogens. Modern biomedical research has employed these very specific and efficient molecules designed by nature in the diagnosis of diseases, localization of gene products as well as in the rapid screening of targets for drug discovery and testing. In addition, the introduction of antibodies with fluorescent or enzymatic tags has significantly contributed to advances in imaging and microarray technology, which are revolutionizing disease research and the search for effective therapeutics. More recently antibodies have been used in the isolation of dimeric G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) complexes. In this review, we discuss antibodies as powerful research tools for studying GPCRs, and their potential to be developed as drugs themselves.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The majority of studies examining activity-induced conformational changes in G protein-coupled receptors have focused on transmembrane helices or intracellular regions. Relatively few studies have examined the involvement of the extracellular region in general and the N-terminal region in particular in this process. To begin to address this, we generated a series of antibodies to the N-terminal region of opioid receptors. Characterization of these antibodies revealed that they differentially recognize activated receptors. Recently, we generated monoclonal antibodies that recognize regions proximal to glycosylation sites in the receptor N terminus. Characterization of these antibodies revealed that agonist treatment leads to a decrease in epitope recognition by the antibody presumably because of a movement of the region of the N terminus proximal to glycosylation sites. The time course of the decrease in antibody recognition suggested that it could be due to a post-activation-mediated event. Examination of the involvement of receptor residues in the C-tail and beta-arrestin binding using site-directed mutagenesis and cells or tissues lacking beta-arrestin 2 suggests a role for these desensitization-related mechanisms in governing antibody binding to the receptor. Thus, these N-terminally directed antibodies can differentially recognize post-activation-mediated changes in the C-terminal (intracellular) region of the receptor. Therefore, these conformation-sensitive antibodies represent powerful reagents to probe receptor activation states and provide a potential tool for identifying and characterizing new compounds of therapeutic interest.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To date, the endogenous ligands described for cannabinoid receptors have been derived from membrane lipids. To identify a peptide ligand for CB(1) cannabinoid receptors, we used the recently described conformation-state sensitive antibodies and screened a panel of endogenous peptides from rodent brain or adipose tissue. This led to the identification of hemopressin (PVNFKFLSH) as a peptide ligand that selectively binds CB(1) cannabinoid receptors. We find that hemopressin is a CB(1) receptor-selective antagonist, because it is able to efficiently block signaling by CB(1) receptors but not by other members of family A G protein-coupled receptors (including the closely related CB(2) receptors). Hemopressin also behaves as an inverse agonist of CB(1) receptors, because it is able to block the constitutive activity of these receptors to the same extent as its well characterized antagonist, rimonabant. Finally, we examine the activity of hemopressin in vivo using different models of pain and find that it exhibits antinociceptive effects when administered by either intrathecal, intraplantar, or oral routes, underscoring hemopressin's therapeutic potential. These results represent a demonstration of a peptide ligand for CB(1) cannabinoid receptors that also exhibits analgesic properties. These findings are likely to have a profound impact on the development of novel therapeutics targeting CB(1) receptors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2008; 104(51):20588-93. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0706980105 · 9.67 Impact Factor