GPR54 regulates ERK1/2 activity and hypothalamic gene expression in a Gαq/11 and β-arrestin-dependent manner

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Abstract

G protein-coupled receptor 54 (GPR54) is a G(q/11)-coupled 7 transmembrane-spanning receptor (7TMR). Activation of GPR54 by kisspeptin (Kp) stimulates PIP(2) hydrolysis, Ca(2+) mobilization and ERK1/2 MAPK phosphorylation. Kp and GPR54 are established regulators of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis and loss-of-function mutations in GPR54 are associated with an absence of puberty and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, thus defining an important role of the Kp/GPR54 signaling system in reproductive function. Given the tremendous physiological and clinical importance of the Kp/GPR54 signaling system, we explored the contributions of the GPR54-coupled G(q/11) and β-arrestin pathways on the activation of a major downstream signaling molecule, ERK, using G(q/11) and β-arrestin knockout mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Our study revealed that GPR54 employs the G(q/11) and β-arrestin-2 pathways in a co-dependent and temporally overlapping manner to positively regulate ERK activity and pERK nuclear localization. We also show that while β-arrestin-2 potentiates GPR54 signaling to ERK, β-arrestin-1 inhibits it. Our data also revealed that diminished β-arrestin-1 and -2 expression in the GT1-7 GnRH hypothalamic neuronal cell line triggered distinct patterns of gene expression following Kp-10 treatment. Thus, β-arrestin-1 and -2 also regulate distinct downstream responses in gene expression. Finally, we showed that GPR54, when uncoupled from the G(q/11) pathway, as is the case for several naturally occurring GPR54 mutants associated with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, continues to regulate gene expression in a G protein-independent manner. These new and exciting findings add significantly to our mechanistic understanding of how this important receptor signals intracellularly in response to kisspeptin stimulation.

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Szereszewski, J. M., Pampillo, M., Ahow, M. R., Offermanns, S., Bhattacharya, M., & Babwah, A. V. (2010). GPR54 regulates ERK1/2 activity and hypothalamic gene expression in a Gαq/11 and β-arrestin-dependent manner. PLoS ONE, 5(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0012964

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