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PLoS One. 2015 Aug 28;10(8):e0136836. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136836. eCollection 2015.

Identifying a Neuromedin U Receptor 2 Splice Variant and Determining Its Roles in the Regulation of Signaling and Tumorigenesis In Vitro.

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Department of Life Sciences and Institute of Genome Sciences, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.


Neuromedin U (NMU) activates two G protein-coupled receptors, NMUR1 and NMUR2; this signaling not only controls many physiological responses but also promotes tumorigenesis in diverse tissues. We recently identified a novel truncated NMUR2 derived by alternative splicing, namely NMUR2S, from human ovarian cancer cDNA. Sequence analysis, cell surface ELISA and immunocytochemical staining using 293T cells indicated that NMUR2S can be expressed well on the cell surface as a six-transmembrane protein. Receptor pull-down and fluorescent resonance energy transfer assays demonstrated that NMUR1, NMUR2 and this newly discovered NMUR2S can not only form homomeric complexes but also heteromeric complexes with each other. Although not activated by NMU itself, functional assay in combination with receptor quantification and radio-ligand binding in 293T cells indicated that NMUR2S does not alter the translocation and stability of NMUR1 or NMUR2, but rather effectively dampens their signaling by blocking their NMU binding capability through receptor heterodimerization. We further demonstrated that NMU signaling is significantly up-regulated in human ovarian cancers, whereas expression of NMUR2S can block endogenous NMU signaling and further lead to suppression of proliferation in SKOV-3 ovarian cancer cells. In contrast, in monocytic THP-1 cells that express comparable levels of NMUR1 and NMUR2S, depletion of NMUR2S restored both the signaling and effect of NMU. Thus, these results not only reveal the presence of previously uncharacterized heteromeric relationships among NMU receptors but also provide NMUR2S as a potential therapeutic target for the future treatment of NMU signaling-mediated cancers.

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