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Sci Rep. 2015 Aug 11;5:12880. doi: 10.1038/srep12880.

Human GPR42 is a transcribed multisite variant that exhibits copy number polymorphism and is functional when heterologously expressed.

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Section on Transmitter Signaling, Laboratory of Molecular Physiology, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-9411, USA.


FFAR3 (GPR41) is a G-protein coupled receptor for which short-chain fatty acids serve as endogenous ligands. The receptor is found on gut enteroendocrine L-cells, pancreatic β-cells, and sympathetic neurons, and is implicated in obesity, diabetes, allergic airway disease, and altered immune function. In primates, FFAR3 is segmentally duplicated resulting in GPR42, a gene currently classified as a suspected pseudogene. In this study, we sequenced FFAR3 and GPR42 open reading frames from 56 individuals and found an unexpectedly high frequency of polymorphisms contributing to several complex haplotypes. We also identified a frequent (18.8%) structural variation that results in GPR42 copy number polymorphism. Finally, sequencing revealed that 50.6% of GPR42 haplotypes differed from FFAR3 by only a single non-synonymous substitution and that the GPR42 reference sequence matched only 4.4% of the alleles. Sequencing of cDNA from human sympathetic ganglia and colon revealed processed transcripts matching the GPR42 genotype. Expression of several GPR42 haplotypes in rat sympathetic neurons revealed diverse pharmacological phenotypes that differed in potency and efficacy. Our data suggest that GPR42 be reclassified as a functioning gene and that recognition of sequence and copy number polymorphism of the FFAR3/GPR42 complex be considered during genetic and pharmacological investigation of these receptors.

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