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J Neuroimmunol. 2002 Sep;130(1-2):100-8.

Novel orphanin FQ/nociceptin transcripts are expressed in human immune cells.

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  • 1Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


The opioid-like receptor (NOP) is widely expressed throughout the human immune system. Here, we report that human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) express transcripts encoding the NOP receptor agonist, orphanin FQ/nociceptin (OFQ/N). OFQ/N transcripts in resting PBLs were restricted to CD19+B cells and contained a novel 5' exon (ImEx2b), replacing exons 1 and 2 found in neuronal transcripts. Translation of ImEx2b-containing transcripts resulted in truncated OFQ/N precursors lacking a classical signal peptide. Mitogen activation of PBLs dramatically up-regulated neuronal-like transcripts, predominantly in CD3+T cells. Overall, this suggests different promoters direct specific OFQ/N transcript expression in immune cells.

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