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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2003 Aug;306(2):794-803. Epub 2003 May 6.

Mediation of corticotropin releasing factor type 1 receptor phosphorylation and desensitization by protein kinase C: a possible role in stress adaptation.

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Department of Veternas Affairs Healthcare System and Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0603, USA.


Protein kinase C (PKC)-mediated desensitization of the corticotropin releasing factor type 1 (CRF1) receptor was investigated in human retinoblastoma Y79 and transfected COS-7 cells. Because stimulation of Y79 cells with CRF resulted in large ( approximately 30-fold) increases in intracellular cAMP accumulation without changing inositol phosphate levels, the CRF1 receptor expressed in retinoblastoma cells couples to Gs, but not to Gq, and predominantly signals via the protein kinase A cascade. Direct activation of PKC by treatment with the phorbol ester phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) or 1,2-dioctanoyl-sn-glycerol (DOG) desensitized CRF1 receptors in Y79 cells, reducing the maximum for CRF- (but not forskolin)-stimulated cAMP accumulation by 56.3 +/- 1.2% and 40.4 +/- 2.1%, respectively (p < 0.001). Pretreating Y79 cells with the PKC inhibitor bisindolylmaleimide I (BIM) markedly inhibited PMA's desensitizing action on CRF-stimulated cAMP accumulation, but did not affect homologous CRF1 receptor desensitization. Retinoblastoma cells were found to express PKCalpha, betaI, betaII, delta, lambda, and RACK1. When alpha and beta isoforms of PKC were down-regulated 80 to 90% by a 48-h PMA exposure, PMA-induced CRF1 receptor desensitization was abolished. In transfected COS-7 cells the magnitude of CRF1 receptor phosphorylation after a 5-min exposure to PMA was 2.32 +/- 0.21-fold greater compared with the basal level. Pretreating COS-7 cells with BIM abolished PMA-induced CRF1 receptor phosphorylation. These studies demonstrate that protein kinase C (possibly alpha and beta isoforms) has an important role in the phosphorylation and heterologous desensitization of the CRF1 receptor.

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