AdvisorYamamura, Henry I.
Committee ChairYamamura, Henry I.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractRegulation of the human delta opioid receptor (hDOR) is implicated in the development of tolerance to chronic morphine (Zhu et al., 1999). In addition, DORs are promising analgesic targets for the management of chronic pain states such as inflammatory or neuropathic pain (Cahill et al., 2007). Therefore, in this study, we investigated multiple aspects of hDOR regulation, including receptor phosphorylation, beta-arrestin binding, receptor internalization, down-regulation and desensitization, using recombinant Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells expressing the wild-type or various mutant hDOR constructs. We found that structurally diverse delta opioid agonists regulate the hDOR by different mechanisms. We demonstrate that morphine is able to activate the initial step of the regulatory events, phosphorylation of S363, but due to requirements for simultaneous activation of multiple sites, morphine fails to promote beta-arrestin binding, receptor internalization and down-regulation. We also report that peptide delta opioid receptor agonists and a non-peptide agonist SNC80 differ in their ability to down-regulate the hDOR. Further differences in receptor phosphorylation, desensitization and beta-arrestin translocation between these two classes of full DOR agonists are reveled by truncation of the receptor's C-terminus or by mutation of the primary phosphorylation site, S363. Studies using the mutant receptors identify the C-terminus as the important domain for hDOR phosphorylation, beta-arrestin binding and down-regulation by both peptide and non-peptide agonists. S363 within the C-terminus is critically involved in receptor phosphorylation, desensitization and down-regulation, but not in beta-arrestin binding and receptor internalization. In contrast to peptide agonists, SNC80 is able to phosphorylate and activate secondary intracellular domain(s), in addition to the C-terminus, which participate in beta-arrestin recruitment and receptor desensitization and down-regulation. Therefore, agonist-specific differences were detected for multiple regulatory events between morphine, peptide agonists and SNC80. Differential agonist-mediated regulation of the human delta opioid receptor may be used to design pain therapy drugs with improved analgesic properties and minimal side effects.
Degree ProgramMedical Pharmacology