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J Biol Chem. 2000 Aug 25;275(34):25965-71.

Receptor for the pain modulatory neuropeptides FF and AF is an orphan G protein-coupled receptor.

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  • 1Departments of Molecular Biology, Renal Pharmacology, Pulmonary Biology, Vascular Biology, and Gene Expression Sciences, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406-0939, USA.


Opiate tolerance and dependence are major clinical and social problems. The anti-opiate neuropeptides FF and AF (NPFF and NPAF) have been implicated in pain modulation as well as in opioid tolerance and may play a critical role in this process, although their mechanism of action has remained unknown. Here we describe a cDNA encoding a novel neuropeptide Y-like human orphan G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), referred to as HLWAR77 for which NPAF and NPFF have high affinity. Cells transiently or stably expressing HLWAR77 bind and respond in a concentration-dependent manner to NPAF and NPFF and are also weakly activated by FMRF-amide (Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-amide) and a variety of related peptides. The high affinity and potency of human NPFF and human NPAF for HLWAR77 strongly suggest that these are the cognate ligands for this receptor. Expression of HLWAR77 was demonstrated in brain regions associated with opiate activity, consistent with the pain-modulating activity of these peptides, whereas the expression in adipose tissue suggests other physiological and pathophysiological activities for FMRF-amide neuropeptides. The discovery that the anti-opiate neuropeptides are the endogenous ligands for HLWAR77 will aid in defining the physiological role(s) of these ligands and facilitate the identification of receptor agonists and antagonists.

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