Molecular Mechanisms Mediating Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ Receptor Signaling, Desensitization and Internalization

Author(s): Monica Baiula, Andrea Bedini, Gioia Carbonari

Journal Name: Current Molecular Pharmacology

Volume 5 , Issue 3 , 2012

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In 1994, the isolation of an opioid receptor-related clone soon led to the isolation and characterization of a novel neuropeptide, termed nociceptin or orphanin FQ (N/OFQ). This heptadecapeptide binds to the N/OFQ receptor (NOP) with high affinity, but does not interact directly with classical opioid receptors. The regional distribution of N/OFQ and of its receptor suggest any possible involvement of this neurotransmission system in motor and balance control, reinforcement and reward, nociception, stress response, sexual behavior, aggression and autonomic control of physiological processes as well as of immune functions. The actions of N/OFQ may also be uniquely dependent on contextual factors, both genetic and environmental. As for most of the G protein coupled receptors, NOP C-terminal sequences are believed to interact with proteins that are mandatory for anchoring receptor at the plasma membrane, internalization, recycling, or degradation after ligand binding. Increasing details of how NOP receptors are activated and removed from the plasma membrane have been elucidated in vitro, and more importantly in a physiological context. Details of how these receptors travel and recycle following internalization have also shed light on the importance of such mechanisms for any potential therapeutic use of NOP ligands. A picture of the pathways and proteins involved in these processes is beginning to emerge. This review will address molecular events contributing to NOP receptor signaling and trafficking.

Keywords: cAMP, N/OFQ, orphanin FQ, NOP receptor, receptor desensitization, receptor endocytosis, receptor internalization, recycling

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Published on: 30 January, 2013
Page: [372 - 381]
Pages: 10
DOI: 10.2174/1874467211205030006
Price: $65

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