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J Biol Chem. 2012 Apr 13;287(16):12736-49. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.314617. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

GRK2 protein-mediated transphosphorylation contributes to loss of function of μ-opioid receptors induced by neuropeptide FF (NPFF2) receptors.

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Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale, CNRS/Université de Toulouse, UMR 5089, 205 Route de Narbonne, 31077 Toulouse Cedex, France.


Neuropeptide FF (NPFF) interacts with specific receptors to modulate opioid functions in the central nervous system. On dissociated neurons and neuroblastoma cells (SH-SY5Y) transfected with NPFF receptors, NPFF acts as a functional antagonist of μ-opioid (MOP) receptors by attenuating the opioid-induced inhibition of calcium conductance. In the SH-SY5Y model, MOP and NPFF(2) receptors have been shown to heteromerize. To understand the molecular mechanism involved in the anti-opioid activity of NPFF, we have investigated the phosphorylation status of the MOP receptor using phospho-specific antibody and mass spectrometry. Similarly to direct opioid receptor stimulation, activation of the NPFF(2) receptor by [D-Tyr-1-(NMe)Phe-3]NPFF (1DMe), an analog of NPFF, induced the phosphorylation of Ser-377 of the human MOP receptor. This heterologous phosphorylation was unaffected by inhibition of second messenger-dependent kinases and, contrarily to homologous phosphorylation, was prevented by inactivation of G(i/o) proteins by pertussis toxin. Using siRNA knockdown we could demonstrate that 1DMe-induced Ser-377 cross-phosphorylation and MOP receptor loss of function were mediated by the G protein receptor kinase GRK2. In addition, mass spectrometric analysis revealed that the phosphorylation pattern of MOP receptors was qualitatively similar after treatment with the MOP agonist Tyr-D-Ala-Gly (NMe)-Phe-Gly-ol (DAMGO) or after treatment with the NPFF agonist 1DMe, but the level of multiple phosphorylation was more intense after DAMGO. Finally, NPFF(2) receptor activation was sufficient to recruit β-arrestin2 to the MOP receptor but not to induce its internalization. These data show that NPFF-induced heterologous desensitization of MOP receptor signaling is mediated by GRK2 and could involve transphosphorylation within the heteromeric receptor complex.

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