ABSTRACT: mu opiate receptors recognize morphine with high affinity. A 2.1-kb rat brain cDNA whose predicted translation product displays 63% identity with recently described delta and kappa opiate receptor sequences was identified through polymerase chain reaction and cDNA homology approaches. This cDNA recognizes a 10.5-kb mRNA that is expressed in thalamic neurons. COS-cell expression confers naloxonazine-, Na(+)-, and GTP-sensitive binding of mu but not delta or kappa opioid ligands. Expressing cells bind morphine, [D-Ala2,N-methyl-Phe4,glyol5]enkephalin (DAMGO), and [D-Ala2,D-Leu5]enkephalin (DADLE) with nanomolar or subnanomolar affinities, defining a mu opiate receptor that avidly recognizes analgesic and euphoric opiate drugs and opioid peptides.
Project description:Our observations that opioid peptides have direct effects on islet insulin secretion and liver glucose production prompted a search for endogenous opiates and their receptors in these peripheral tissues. Mu-, delta- and kappa-receptor-active opiates were demonstrated in brain, pancreas and liver extracts by displacement studies using selective ligands for the three opiate receptor subtypes [( 3H][D-Ala2,MePhe4,Gly5-ol]enkephalin, [3H][D-Ala2,D-Leu5]enkephalin and [3H]dynorphin respectively). Receptor-active opiates in brain extracts exhibited a stronger preference for delta-opiate-receptor sites than for mu and kappa sites. Pancreatic extract opiates demonstrated a similar activity at mu and delta sites, but substantially less at kappa sites. Liver extracts displayed similar selectivity for all three sites. The affinities of the receptor-active opiates for mu-, delta- and kappa-receptor subtypes displayed a rank order of potency: brain much greater than pancreas greater than liver. Total immunoreactive beta-endorphin and [Met5]enkephalin levels in liver and hepatocytes were greater than those in brain. Immunoreactive [Met5]enkephalin levels in pancreas were similar to, but beta-endorphin levels were substantially higher than, those in brain. Delta and kappa opiate-binding sites of high affinity were identified in crude membrane preparations of islets of Langerhans, but no specific opiate-binding sites could be demonstrated in liver membrane preparations. Immunoreactive dynorphin and beta-endorphin were demonstrated by immunogold labelling in rat pancreatic islet cells. No positive staining of liver sections for opioids was observed. These results suggest that the tissue content of opiate-receptor-active compounds in the pancreas and the liver is very significant and could contribute to the regulation of normal blood glucose levels.
Project description:Research in the opioid field has relied heavily on the use of standard agonist ligands such as morphine, [d-Ala(2)-MePhe(4)-Glyol(5)]enkephalin (DAMGO), U69593, bremazocine, [d-Pen(2)d-Pen(5)]enkephalin (DPDPE), and deltorphin-II as tools for investigating the three major types of opioid receptors, MOP (μ), KOP (κ), and DOP (δ), that mediate antinociception. The functional selectivity of these ligands has been based on the assumption that opioid receptors exist as homomers. As numerous studies in cultured cells have suggested that opioid receptors can associate both as homomers and heteromers, we have investigated the selectivity of these standard ligands using intracellular calcium release and [(35)S]GTPγS assays in HEK-293 cells that contain singly and coexpressed opioid receptors. The present study reveals that morphine and DAMGO, traditionally classified as μ selective agonists, selectively activate μ-δ heteromeric opioid receptors with greater efficacy than homomeric opioid receptors. Moreover, standard ligands that have been widely employed as κ- and δ-selective agonists display little or no differences in the activation of homomeric and heteromeric opioid receptors. The far-reaching implications of these results are discussed.
Project description:Solubilization of opioid receptors from rat cortical membranes that retained high-affinity guanine nucleotide-sensitive agonist binding was achieved using 10 mM CHAPS. We report the nature of the interactions of mu and delta opioid receptors with the guanine nucleotide-binding protein G(o) by immunoprecipitation of CHAPS extracts with selective G(o)alpha-subunit protein antisera. Antiserum IM1 raised against amino acids 22-35 of G(o)alpha selectively co-immunoprecipitated G(o)alpha-mu and G(o)alpha-delta opioid receptor complexes detected in the immunoprecipitates by specific [3H][D-Ala2,N-Me-Phe4,Gly5-ol]enkephalin and [3H][D-Ser2,Leu5,Thr6]enkephalin binding respectively. By contrast, antisera directed against the C-terminal decapeptide (OC2) and the N-terminal hexadecapeptide (ON1) of isoforms of G(o)alpha were unable to immunoprecipitate solubilized opioid receptor-G(o) complexes, although both were able to immunoprecipitate solubilized G(o)alpha and have been shown to reduce the affinity of [D-Ala2,D-Leu5]enkephalin for opioid receptors in rat cortical membranes [Georgoussi, Carr and Milligan (1993) Mol. Pharmacol. 44, 62-69]. These findings demonstrate that CHAPS-solubilized mu and delta opioid receptors from rat cortical membranes form stable complexes with one or more variants of G(o).
Project description:The molecular evolution of the opioid receptor family has been studied by isolating cDNAs that encode six distinct opioid receptor-like proteins from a lower vertebrate, the teleost fish Catostomus commersoni. One of these, which has been obtained in full-length form, encodes a 383-amino acid protein that exhibits greatest sequence similarity to mammalian mu-opioid receptors; the corresponding gene is expressed predominantly in brain and pituitary. Transfection of the teleost cDNA into HEK 293 cells resulted in the appearance of a receptor having high affinity for the mu-selective agonist [D-Ala2, MePhe4-Gly-ol5]enkephalin (DAMGO) (Kd = 0.63 +/- 0.15 nM) and for the nonselective antagonist naloxone (Kd = 3.1 +/- 1.3 nM). The receptor had negligible affinity for U50488 and [D-Pen2, D-Pen5]enkephalin (DPDPE), which are kappa- and delta-opioid receptor selective agonists, respectively. Stimulation of transfected cells with 1 microM DAMGO lowered forskolin-induced cAMP levels, an effect that could be reversed by naloxone. Experiments in Xenopus oocytes have demonstrated that the fish opioid receptor can, in an agonist-dependent fashion, activate a coexpressed mouse G-protein-gated inward-rectifying potassium channel (GIRK1). The identification of six distinct fish opioid receptor-like proteins suggests that additional mammalian opioid receptors remain to be identified at the molecular level. Furthermore, our data indicate that the mu-opioid receptor arose very early in evolution, perhaps before the appearance of vertebrates, and that the pharmacological and functional properties of this receptor have been conserved over a period of approximately 400 million years implying that it fulfills an important physiological role.
Project description:Opiates such as morphine are the most powerful analgesics, but their protracted use is restrained by the development of tolerance to analgesic effects. Recent works suggest that tolerance to morphine might be due to its inability to promote mu opioid receptor endocytosis, and the co-injection of morphine with a mu opioid receptor internalizing agonist like [D-Ala(2),N-Me-Phe(4),Gly-ol(5)]enkephalin reduces tolerance to morphine. So far, no studies have been conducted to evaluate the ability of methadone to reduce morphine tolerance in morphine-pretreated animals, a treatment sequence that could be encountered in opiate rotation protocol. We investigated the ability of methadone (a mu opioid receptor internalizing agonist used in therapy) to reverse morphine tolerance and the associated cellular mechanisms in the periaqueductal gray matter, a region involved in pain control.We measured analgesic response following a challenge dose of morphine in the hot plate test and investigated regulation of mu opioid receptor (coupling and endocytosis) and some cellular mechanisms involved in tolerance such as adenylate cyclase superactivation and changes in N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor subunits expression and phosphorylation state.A chronic treatment with morphine promoted tolerance to its analgesic effects and was associated with a lack of mu opioid receptor endocytosis, adenylate cyclase overshoot, NR2A and NR2B downregulation, and phosphorylation of NR1. We reported that a methadone treatment in morphine-treated mice reversed morphine tolerance to analgesia by promoting mu opioid receptor endocytosis and blocking cellular mechanisms of tolerance.Our data might lead to rational strategies to tackle opiate tolerance in the frame of opiate rotation.
Project description:Opioids and their receptors have an important role in analgesia and alcohol and substance use disorders (ASUD). We have identified several naturally occurring amino acid changing variants of the human mu-opioid receptor (MOR), and assessed the functional consequences of these previously undescribed variants in stably expressing cell lines. Several of these variants had altered trafficking and signaling properties. We found that an L85I variant showed significant internalization in response to morphine, in contrast to the WT MOR, which did not internalize in response to morphine. Also, when L85I and WT receptor were coexpressed, WT MOR internalized with the L85I MOR, suggesting that, in the heterozygous condition, the L85I phenotype would be dominant. This finding is potentially important, because receptor internalization has been associated with development of tolerance to opiate analgesics. In contrast, an R181C variant abolished both signaling and internalization in response to saturating doses of the hydrolysis-resistant enkephalin [D-Ala2,N-MePhe4,Gly5-ol]enkephalin (DAMGO). Coexpression of the R181C and WT receptor led to independent trafficking of the 2 receptors. S42T and C192F variants showed a rightward shift in potency of both morphine and DAMGO, whereas the S147C variant displayed a subtle leftward shift in morphine potency. These data suggest that these and other such variants may have clinical relevance to opioid responsiveness to both endogenous ligands and exogenous drugs, and could influence a broad range of phenotypes, including ASUD, pain responses, and the development of tolerance to morphine.
Project description:This study focuses on the effect of mu-opioid receptor agonists on CXCR4 signaling in neurons and the mechanisms involved in regulation of neuronal CXCR4 by opiates. The data show that CXCR4 is negatively modulated by long-term morphine treatments both in vitro and in vivo; CXCR4 inhibition is caused by direct stimulation of mu-opioid receptors in neurons, leading to alterations of ligand-induced CXCR4 phosphorylation and upregulation of protein ferritin heavy chain (FHC), a negative intracellular regulator of CXCR4. Reduced coupling of CXCR4 to G-proteins was found in the brain of morphine-treated rats, primarily cortex and hippocampus. CXCR4-induced G alpha(i)/G betagamma activities were suppressed after 24 h treatment of cortical neurons with morphine or the selective mu-opioid agonist DAMGO (D-Ala2-N-Me-Phe(4)-glycol(5)-enkephalin), as shown by analysis of downstream targets of CXCR4 (i.e., cAMP, Akt, and ERK1/2). These agonists also prevented CXCL12-induced phosphorylation of CXCR4, indicating a deficit of CXCR4 activation in these conditions. Indeed, morphine (or DAMGO) inhibited prosurvival signaling in neurons. These effects are not attributable to a reduction in CXCR4 expression or surface levels but rather to upregulation of FHC by opioids. The crucial role of FHC in inhibition of neuronal CXCR4 was confirmed by in vitro and in vivo RNA interference studies. Overall, these findings suggest that opiates interfere with normal CXCR4 function in the brain. By this mechanism, opiates could reduce the neuroprotective functions of CXCR4 and exacerbate neuropathology in opiate abusers who are affected by neuroinflammatory/infectious disorders, including neuroAIDS.
Project description:This study determined the antinociceptive effects of morphine and morphine-6-O-sulfate (M6S) in both normal and diabetic rats, and evaluated the comparative role of mu-opioid receptors (mu-ORs) and delta-opioid receptors (delta-ORs) in the antinociceptive action of these opioids. In vitro characterization of mu-OR and delta-OR-mediated signaling by M6S and morphine in stably transfected Chinese hamster ovary (CHO-K1) cells showed that M6S exhibited a 6-fold higher affinity for delta-ORs and modulated G-protein and adenylyl cyclase activity via delta-ORs more potently than morphine. Interestingly, while morphine acted as a full agonist at delta-ORs in both functional assays examined, M6S exhibited either partial or full agonist activity for modulation of G-protein or adenylyl cyclase activity, respectively. Molecular docking studies indicated that M6S but not morphine binds equally well at the ligand binding site of both mu- and delta-ORs. In vivo analgesic effects of M6S and morphine in both normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic Sprague-Dawley rats utilizing the hot water tail flick latency test showed that M6S produced more potent antinociception than morphine in both normal rats and diabetic rats. This difference in potency was abrogated following antagonism of delta- but not mu- or kappa (kappa-ORs) opioid receptors. During 9days of chronic treatment, tolerance developed to morphine-treated but not to M6S-treated rats. Rats that developed tolerance to morphine still remained responsive to M6S. Collectively, this study demonstrates that M6S is a potent and efficacious mu/delta opioid analgesic with a delayed tolerance profile when compared to morphine in both normal and diabetic rats.This study demonstrates that M6S acts at both mu- and delta-ORs, and adds to the growing evidence that the use of mixed mu/delta opioid agonists in pain treatment may have clinical benefit.
Project description:The addictive properties of morphine limit its clinical use. Learned associations that develop between the abused opiate and the environment in which it is consumed are engendered through Pavlovian conditioning processes. Disruption of the learned associations between the opiate and environmental cues may be a therapeutic approach to prevent morphine dependence. Although a role for the delta-opioid receptor in the regulation of the rewarding properties of morphine has already been shown, in this study we further characterized the role of the delta-opioid receptor in morphine-induced conditioned responses by examining the effect of a selective delta2-opioid receptor antagonist (naltriben), using a conditioned place preference paradigm in rats. Additionally, we used a subcellular fractionation technique to analyze the synaptic localization of mu-opioid and delta-opioid receptors in the hippocampus, in order to examine the molecular mechanisms that may underlie this morphine-induced conditioned behavior. Our data show that the administration of 1 mg/kg naltriben (but not 0.1 mg/kg) prior to morphine was able to block morphine-induced conditioned place preference. Interestingly, this naltriben-induced disruption of morphine conditioned place preference was associated with a significant increase in the expression of the delta-opioid receptor dimer at the postsynaptic density. In addition, we also observed that morphine conditioned place preference was associated with an increase in the expression of the mu-opoid receptor in the total homogenate. Overall, these results suggest that modulation of the delta-opioid receptor expression and its synaptic localization may constitute a viable therapeutic approach to disrupt morphine-induced conditioned responses.
Project description:The rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) forms part of a descending pathway that modulates nociceptive neurotransmission at the level of the spinal cord dorsal horn. However, the involvement of descending RVM systems in opioid analgesia are a matter of some debate. In the present study, patch-clamp recordings of RVM neurons were made from rats that had received retrograde tracer injections into the spinal cord. More than 90% of identified spinally projecting RVM neurons responded to opioid agonists. Of these neurons, 53% responded only to the mu-opioid agonist D-Ala2, N-Me-Phe4, Gly-ol5 enkephalin, 14% responded only to the kappa-opioid agonist U-69593, and another group responded to both mu and kappa opioids (23%). In unidentified RVM neurons, a larger proportion of neurons responded only to mu opioids (75%), with smaller proportions of kappa- (4%) and mu/kappa-opioid (13%) responders. These RVM slices were then immunostained for tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH), a marker of serotonergic neurons. Forty-percent of spinally projecting neurons and 11% of unidentified neurons were TPH positive. Of the TPH-positive spinally projecting neurons, there were similar proportions of mu- (33%), kappa- (25%), and mu/kappa-opioid (33%) responders. Most of the TPH-negative spinally projecting neurons were mu-opioid responders (67%). These findings indicate that functional opioid receptor subtypes exist on spinally projecting serotonergic and nonserotonergic RVM neurons. The proportions of mu- and kappa-opioid receptors expressed differ between serotonergic and nonserotonergic neurons and between retrogradely labeled and unlabeled RVM neurons. We conclude that important roles exist for both serotonergic and nonserotonergic RVM neurons in the mediation of opioid effects.