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J Biol Chem. 2009 Jul 3;284(27):18357-67. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.015453. Epub 2009 May 5.

Differential modulation of mu- and delta-opioid receptor agonists by endogenous RGS4 protein in SH-SY5Y cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


Regulator of G-protein signaling (RGS) proteins are a family of molecules that control the duration of G protein signaling. A variety of RGS proteins have been reported to modulate opioid receptor signaling. Here we show that RGS4 is abundantly expressed in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells that endogenously express mu- and delta-opioid receptors and test the hypothesis that the activity of opioids in these cells is modulated by RGS4. Endogenous RGS4 protein was reduced by approximately 90% in SH-SY5Y cells stably expressing short hairpin RNA specifically targeted to RGS4. In these cells, the potency and maximal effect of delta-opioid receptor agonist (SNC80)-mediated inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cAMP accumulation was increased compared with control cells. This effect was reversed by transient transfection of a stable RGS4 mutant (HA-RGS4C2S). Furthermore, MAPK activation by SNC80 was increased in cells with knockdown of RGS4. In contrast, there was no change in the mu-opioid (morphine) response at adenylyl cyclase or MAPK. FLAG-tagged opioid receptors and HA-RGS4C2S were transiently expressed in HEK293T cells, and co-immunoprecipitation experiments showed that the delta-opioid receptor but not the mu-opioid receptor could be precipitated together with the stable RGS4. Using chimeras of the delta- and mu-opioid receptors, the C-tail and third intracellular domain of the delta-opioid receptor were suggested to be the sites of interaction with RGS4. The findings demonstrate a role for endogenous RGS4 protein in modulating delta-opioid receptor signaling in SH-SY5Y cells and provide evidence for a receptor-specific effect of RGS4.

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