The Melanocortin System in Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar L.) and Its Role in Appetite Control.
ABSTRACT: The melanocortin system is a key neuroendocrine network involved in the control of food intake and energy homeostasis in vertebrates. Within the hypothalamus, the system comprises two main distinct neuronal cell populations that express the neuropeptides proopiomelanocortin (POMC; anorexigenic) or agouti-related protein (AGRP; orexigenic). Both bind to the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) in higher order neurons that control both food intake and energy expenditure. This system is relatively well-conserved among vertebrates. However, in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.), the salmonid-specific fourth round whole-genome duplication led to the presence of several paralog genes which might result in divergent functions of the duplicated genes. In the current study, we report the first comprehensive comparative identification and characterization of Mc4r and extend the knowledge of Pomc and Agrp in appetite control in Atlantic salmon. In silico analysis revealed multiple paralogs for mc4r (a1, a2, b1, and b2) in the Atlantic salmon genome and confirmed the paralogs previously described for pomc (a1, a2, and b) and agrp (1 and 2). All Mc4r paralogs are relatively well-conserved with the human homolog, sharing at least 63% amino acid sequence identity. We analyzed the mRNA expression of mc4r, pomc, and agrp genes in eight brain regions of Atlantic salmon post-smolt under two feeding states: normally fed and fasted for 4 days. The mc4ra2 and b1 mRNAs were predominantly and equally abundant in the hypothalamus and telencephalon, the mc4rb2 in the hypothalamus, and a1 in the telencephalon. All pomc genes were highly expressed in the pituitary, followed by the hypothalamus and saccus vasculosus. The agrp genes showed a completely different expression pattern from each other, with prevalent expression of the agrp1 in the hypothalamus and agrp2 in the telencephalon. Fasting did not induce any significant changes in the mRNA level of mc4r, agrp, or pomc paralogs in the hypothalamus or in other highly expressed regions between fed and fasted states. The identification and wide distribution of multiple paralogs of mc4r, pomc, and agrp in Atlantic salmon brain provide new insights and give rise to new questions of the melanocortin system in the appetite regulation in Atlantic salmon.
Project description:Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC)- and agouti-related peptide (AgRP)-expressing neurons of the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARC) are oppositely regulated by caloric depletion and coordinately stimulate and inhibit homeostatic satiety, respectively. This bimodality is principally underscored by the antagonistic actions of these ligands at downstream melanocortin-4 receptors (MC4R) in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVH). Although this population is critical to energy balance, the underlying neural circuitry remains unknown. Using mice expressing Cre recombinase in MC4R neurons, we demonstrate bidirectional control of feeding following real-time activation and inhibition of PVH(MC4R) neurons and further identify these cells as a functional exponent of ARC(AgRP) neuron-driven hunger. Moreover, we reveal this function to be mediated by a PVH(MC4R)?lateral parabrachial nucleus (LPBN) pathway. Activation of this circuit encodes positive valence, but only in calorically depleted mice. Thus, the satiating and appetitive nature of PVH(MC4R)?LPBN neurons supports the principles of drive reduction and highlights this circuit as a promising target for antiobesity drug development.
Project description:Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC)- and agouti-related peptide (AgRP)-expressing neurons of the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARC) are oppositely regulated by caloric depletion and coordinately stimulate and inhibit homeostatic satiety, respectively. This bimodality is principally underscored by the antagonistic actions of these ligands at downstream melanocortin-4 receptors (MC4R) in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVH). Although this population is critical to energy balance, the underlying neural circuitry remains unknown. Using mice expressing Cre recombinase in MC4R neurons, we demonstrate bidirectional control of feeding following real-time activation and inhibition of PVH(MC4R) neurons and further identify these cells as a functional exponent of ARC(AgRP) neuron-driven hunger. Moreover, we reveal this function to be mediated by a PVH(MC4R)→lateral parabrachial nucleus (LPBN) pathway. Activation of this circuit encodes positive valence, but only in calorically depleted mice. Thus, the satiating and appetitive nature of PVH(MC4R)→LPBN neurons supports the principles of drive reduction and highlights this circuit as a promising target for antiobesity drug development. Overall design: Single-neuron mRNA-seq was performed on fluorescently-labeled or -unlabeled cells that were manually isolated from dissociated adult mouse paraventricular and arcuate hypothalamus: Mc4r-2a-Cre::L10-GFP+ or Mc4r-2a-Cre::AAV-XFP+ or Mc4r-2a-Cre::AAV-XFP-negative PVH neurons; Agrp-IRES-Cre::L10-GFP+ ARC neurons; Pomc-hrGFP+ ARC neurons; and vGLUT2-IRES-Cre::AAV-XFP+ ARC neurons Note: Raw files unavailable for samples GSM2413312 GSM2413313 GSM2413314 GSM2413346 GSM2413347
Project description:The initial discovery that ob/ob mice become obese because of a recessive mutation of the leptin gene has been crucial to discover the melanocortin pathway to control appetite. In the melanocortin pathway, the fed state is signaled by abundance of circulating hormones such as leptin and insulin, which bind to receptors expressed at the surface of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons to promote processing of POMC to the mature hormone ?-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (?-MSH). The ?-MSH released by POMC neurons then signals to decrease energy intake by binding to melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) expressed by MC4R neurons to the paraventricular nucleus (PVN). Conversely, in the 'starved state' activity of agouti-related neuropeptide (AgRP) and of neuropeptide Y (NPY)-expressing neurons is increased by decreased levels of circulating leptin and insulin and by the orexigenic hormone ghrelin to promote food intake. This initial understanding of the melanocortin pathway has recently been implemented by the description of the complex neuronal circuit that controls the activity of POMC, AgRP/NPY and MC4R neurons and downstream signaling by these neurons. This review summarizes the progress done on the melanocortin pathway and describes how obesity alters this pathway to disrupt energy homeostasis. We also describe progress on how leptin and insulin receptors signal in POMC neurons, how MC4R signals and how altered expression and traffic of MC4R change the acute signaling and desensitization properties of the receptor. We also describe how the discovery of the melanocortin pathway has led to the use of melanocortin agonists to treat obesity derived from genetic disorders.
Project description:We previously found that ultraviolet B (UVB) could stimulate the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) with activation the systemic hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal (HPA) axis. To investigate whether UVB can also stimulate other hypothalamic nuclei, we tested its effect on the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) related signalling system in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of female C57BL/6 and FVB albino mice. The shaved back skin of the mice was irradiated with either 100 or 400 mJ/cm2 of UVB. After 1, 3, 6 and 12 h, blood and hypothalamus were collected and processed for gene and protein expression, and measurement of ?-MSH and ?-endorphin (?-END) levels. An in situ immunohistochemical examination was performed for melanocortin receptor 4 (MC4R) and POMC-derived ?-MSH. The expression of Pomc and MC4R mRNAs was stimulated, whereas that of AgRP was inhibited after exposure to UVB. It was accompanied by an increased number of both ?-MSH- and MC4R-immunoreactive neurons in the ARC, and by increased levels of ?-MSH and ?-END (both found in the hypothalamus and plasma). This surprising discovery of UVB stimulating the POMC system in the ARC, accompanied by the increased plasma levels of ?-MSH and ?-END, paves the way for exciting areas of research on the communication between the skin and the brain, as well as is suggesting a new role for UVB in regulation of body metabolism.
Project description:The melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) is a G protein-coupled receptor mainly expressed in the central nervous system of vertebrates. Activation of the MC4R leads to a decrease in food intake, whereas inactivating mutations are a genetic cause of obesity. The binding of agouti-related protein (AGRP) reduces not only agonist-stimulated cAMP production (competitive antagonist) but also the basal activity of the receptor, as an inverse agonist. Transgenic zebrafish overexpressing AGRP display increased food intake and linear growth, indicative of a physiological role for the melanocortin system in the control of the energy balance in fish. We report on the cloning, pharmacological characterization, tissue distribution, and detailed brain mapping of a sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) MC4R ortholog. Sea bass MC4R is profusely expressed within food intake-controlling pathways of the fish brain. However, the activity of the melanocortin system during progressive fasting does not depend on the hypothalamic/pituitary proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and MC4R expression, which suggests that sea bass MC4R is constitutively activated and regulated by AGRP binding. We demonstrate that AGRP acts as competitive antagonist and reduces MTII-induced cAMP production. AGRP also decreases the basal activity of the receptor as an inverse agonist. This observation suggests that MC4R is constitutively active and supports the evolutionary conservation of the AGRP/MC4R interactions. The inverse agonism, but not the competitive antagonism, depends on the presence of a phosphodiesterase inhibitor (IBMX). This suggests that inverse agonism and competitive antagonism operate through different intracellular signaling pathways, a view that opens up new targets for the treatment of melanocortin-induced metabolic syndrome.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Genetic variants of the melanocortin-4 receptor gene (MC4R), agouti related protein (AGRP) and proopiomelanocortin (POMC) are reported to be associated with obesity. Therefore, the aim of this study is to examine MC4R rs17782313, MC4R rs17700633, AGRP rs3412352 and POMCrs1042571 for any association with obesity in North Indian subjects. METHODS:The variants were investigated for association in 300 individuals with BMI ?30 kg/m(2) and 300 healthy non-obese individuals BMI <30 kg/m(2.) The genotyping were analyzed by Taqman probes. The statistical analysis was performed by the SPSS software, ver.19 and p?0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS:The genotypes of MC4R rs17782313 and POMC rs1042571 were significantly associated with obesity (C), (p=0.02; OR=1.7 and p=0.01; OR=1.6, respectively); however, MC4Rrs17700633 (p=0.001; OR=0.55) was associated with low risk. In addition, AGRPrs3412352 (p=0.93; OR=0.96) showed no association with obesity (BMI ?30 kg/m(2)) in North Indian subjects. CONCLUSION:This study provides the report about the significant association of MC4R (rs17782313) and POMC (rs1042571) with morbid obesity (BMI ?30 kg/m(2)), but MC4R (rs17700633) and AGRP (rs34123523) did not show any association with obesity in the studied North Indian population.
Project description:The hypothalamic melanocortin system is unique among neuropeptide systems controlling energy homeostasis, in that both anorexigenic proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived and orexigenic Agouti related-peptide (AgRP)-derived ligands act at the same receptors, namely melanocortin 3 and 4 receptors (MC3/4R). AgRP clearly acts as a competitive antagonist at MC3R and MC4R but may also have an inverse agonist action at these receptors. The physiological relevance of this remains uncertain. We generated a mouse lacking both POMC and AgRP [double knockout (DKO) mouse]. Phenotyping was performed in the absence and presence of glucocorticoids, and the response to central peptide administration was studied. The phenotype of DKO mice is indistinguishable from that of mice lacking Pomc alone, with both exhibiting highly similar degrees of hyperphagia and increased body length, fat, and lean mass compared with wild-type controls. After a 24-h fast, there was no difference in the refeeding response between Pomc(-/-) and DKO mice. Similarly, corticosterone supplementation caused an equivalent increase in food intake and body weight in both genotypes. Although the central administration of [Nle?, d-Phe?]-?-MSH to DKO mice caused a decrease in food intake and an increase in brown adipose tissue Ucp1 expression, both of which could be antagonized with the coadministration of AgRP, there was no effect of AgRP alone. These data suggest AgRP acts predominantly as a melanocortin antagonist. If AgRP has significant melanocortin-independent actions, these are of insufficient magnitude in vivo to impact any of the detailed phenotypes we have measured under a wide variety of conditions.
Project description:The melanocortin receptor 4 (MC4R) signaling system consists of MC4R, MC4R ligands [melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), agouti-related protein (AgRP)], and melanocortin-2 receptor accessory protein 2 (MRAP2), and it has been proposed to play important roles in feeding and growth in vertebrates. However, the expression and functionality of this system have not been fully characterized in teleosts. Here, we cloned tilapia MC4R, MRAP2b, AgRPs (AgRP, AgRP2), and POMCs (POMCa1, POMCb) genes and characterized the interaction of tilapia MC4R with MRAP2b, AgRP, ?-MSH, and ACTH in vitro. The results indicate the following. (1) Tilapia MC4R, MRAP2b, AgRPs, and POMCs share high amino acid identity with their mammalian counterparts. (2) Tilapia MRAP2b could interact with MC4R expressed in CHO cells, as demonstrated by Co-IP assay, and thus decrease MC4R constitutive activity and enhance its sensitivity to ACTH1-40. (3) As in mammals, AgRP can function as an inverse agonist and antagonist of MC4R, either in the presence or absence of MRAP2b. These data, together with the co-expression of MC4R, MRAP2b, AgRPs, and POMCs in tilapia hypothalamus, suggest that as in mammals, ACTH/?-MSH, AgRP, and MRAP2 can interact with MC4R to control energy balance and thus play conserved roles in the feeding and growth of teleosts.
Project description:The regulated release of anorexigenic ?-melanocyte stimulating hormone (?-MSH) and orexigenic Agouti-related protein (AgRP) from discrete hypothalamic arcuate neurons onto common target sites in the central nervous system has a fundamental role in the regulation of energy homeostasis. Both peptides bind with high affinity to the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R); existing data show that ?-MSH is an agonist that couples the receptor to the G?s signalling pathway, while AgRP binds competitively to block ?-MSH binding and blocks the constitutive activity mediated by the ligand-mimetic amino-terminal domain of the receptor. Here we show that, in mice, regulation of firing activity of neurons from the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) by ?-MSH and AgRP can be mediated independently of G?s signalling by ligand-induced coupling of MC4R to closure of inwardly rectifying potassium channel, Kir7.1. Furthermore, AgRP is a biased agonist that hyperpolarizes neurons by binding to MC4R and opening Kir7.1, independently of its inhibition of ?-MSH binding. Consequently, Kir7.1 signalling appears to be central to melanocortin-mediated regulation of energy homeostasis within the PVN. Coupling of MC4R to Kir7.1 may explain unusual aspects of the control of energy homeostasis by melanocortin signalling, including the gene dosage effect of MC4R and the sustained effects of AgRP on food intake.
Project description:Ghrelin, the endogenous growth hormone secretagogue, has an important role in metabolic homeostasis. It exists in two major molecular forms: acylated (AG) and unacylated (UAG). Many studies suggest different roles for these two forms of ghrelin in energy balance regulation. In the present study, we compared the effects of acute intracerebroventricular administration of AG, UAG and their combination (AG+UAG) to young adult Wistar rats on food intake and central melanocortin system modulation. Although UAG did not affect food intake it significantly increased the number of c-Fos positive neurons in the arcuate (ARC), paraventricular (PVN) and solitary tract (NTS) nuclei. In contrast, UAG suppressed AG-induced neuronal activity in PVN and NTS. Central UAG also modulated hypothalamic expression of Mc4r and Bmp8b, which were increased and Mc3r, Pomc, Agrp and Ucp2, which were decreased. Finally, UAG, AG and combination treatments caused activation of c-Fos in POMC expressing neurons in the arcuate, substantiating a physiologic effect of these peptides on the central melanocortin system. Together, these results demonstrate that UAG can act directly to increase neuronal activity in the hypothalamus and is able to counteract AG-induced neuronal activity in the PVN and NTS. UAG also modulates expression of members of the melanocortin signaling system in the hypothalamus. In the absence of an effect on energy intake, these findings indicate that UAG could affect energy homeostasis by modulation of the central melanocortin system.