The Melanocortin-2 Receptor of the Rainbow Trout: Identifying a Role for Critical Positions in Transmembrane Domain 4, Extracellular Loop 2, and Transmembrane Domain 5 in the Activation of Rainbow Trout MC2R

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ACTH, Melanocortin-2 receptor, MRAP1, Rainbow trout

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College of Natual Science and Mathematics, Biological Sciences


The activation of either teleost or tetrapod melanocortin-2 receptor (MC2R) orthologs requires interaction between the HFRW motif and R/KKRRP motif in the primary sequence of ACTH, and two corresponding sites on the melanocortin 2 receptor. While the HFRW contact site on MC2R appears to involve residues in TM2, TM3, and TM6, several studies on human MC2R point to the EC2/TM5 region of MC2R as a possible location for the R/KKRRP contact site. In this study nineteen single-alanine mutants of rainbow trout (rt) MC2R were made beginning at V153 in TM4, at all positions in EC2 (extracellular loop 2), to F175 in TM5. For twelve of these alanine mutants (i.e., V153, G155, C162, D163, T165, V166, I167, H169, F170, H172, V173, L174), alanine substitution did not have a statistically significant effect on activation of the receptor. For four of these alanine mutations (i.e., V157, M158, F161, K168), while the negative shift in ligand sensitivity was statistically significant, the magnitude of the negative shift in activation was fivefold or less. However, for substitution at V159 in TM4 (negative shift in activation: 110 fold), F171 in TM5 (negative shift in activation: 48-fold), and F175 in TM5 (negative shift in activation: 100 fold), the effect on activation was both statistically significant and may be physiologically relevant. To support this conclusion, a triple alanine mutant of rtMC2R (V159/A, F171/A, F175/A), and this mutant receptor could not be activated by ACTH at concentrations as high as 10−6 M. A Cell Surface ELISA analysis indicated that the trafficking of the triple alanine mutant rtMC2R to the plasma membrane was not impaired by the alanine substitutions. Collectively, these observations point to a critical role for TM4 and TM5 in the activation of the rainbow trout melanocortin-2 receptor.

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