(1/239) Long term orexigenic effect of a novel melanocortin 4 receptor selective antagonist.

1. We designed and synthesized several novel cyclic MSH analogues and tested their affinities for cells expressing the MC1, MC3, MC4 and MC5 receptors. 2. One of the substances HS028 (cyclic [AcCys11, dichloro-D-phenylalanine14, Cys18, Asp-NH2(22)]-beta-MSH11-22) showed high affinity (Ki of 0.95nM) and high (80 fold) MC4 receptor selectivity over the MC3 receptor. HS028 thus shows both higher affinity and higher selectivity for the MC4 receptor compared to the earlier first described MC4 receptor selective substance HS014. 3. HS028 antagonised a alpha-MSH induced increase in cyclic AMP production in transfected cells expressing the MC3 and MC4 receptors, whereas it seemed to be a partial agonist for the MC1 and MC5 receptors. 4. Chronic intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) administration of HS028 by osmotic minipumps significantly increased both food intake and body weight in a dose dependent manner without tachyphylaxis for a period of 7 days. 5. This is the first report demonstrating that an MC4 receptor antagonist can increase food intake and body weight during chronic administration providing further evidence that the MC4 receptor is an important mediator of long term weight homeostasis.  (+info)

(2/239) High polymorphism at the human melanocortin 1 receptor locus.

Variation in human skin/hair pigmentation is due to varied amounts of eumelanin (brown/black melanins) and phaeomelanin (red/yellow melanins) produced by the melanocytes. The melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) is a regulator of eu- and phaeomelanin production in the melanocytes, and MC1R mutations causing coat color changes are known in many mammals. We have sequenced the MC1R gene in 121 individuals sampled from world populations with an emphasis on Asian populations. We found variation at five nonsynonymous sites (resulting in the variants Arg67Gln, Asp84Glu, Val92Met, Arg151Cys, and Arg163Gln), but at only one synonymous site (A942G). Interestingly, the human consensus protein sequence is observed in all 25 African individuals studied, but at lower frequencies in the other populations examined, especially in East and Southeast Asians. The Arg163Gln variant is absent in the Africans studied, almost absent in Europeans, and at a low frequency (7%) in Indians, but is at an exceptionally high frequency (70%) in East and Southeast Asians. The MC1R gene in common and pygmy chimpanzees, gorilla, orangutan, and baboon was sequenced to study the evolution of MC1R. The ancestral human MC1R sequence is identical to the human consensus protein sequence, while MC1R varies considerably among higher primates. A comparison of the rates of substitution in genes in the melanocortin receptor family indicates that MC1R has evolved the fastest. In addition, the nucleotide diversity at the MC1R locus is shown to be several times higher than the average nucleotide diversity in human populations, possibly due to diversifying selection.  (+info)

(3/239) Contribution of melanocortin receptor exoloops to Agouti-related protein binding.

Agouti-related protein (AGRP) is an endogenous antagonist of melanocortin action that functions in the hypothalamic control of feeding behavior. Although previous studies have shown that AGRP binds three of the five known subtypes of melanocortin receptor, the receptor domains participating in binding and the molecular interactions involved are presently unknown. The present studies were designed to examine the contribution of extracytoplasmic domains of the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) to AGRP binding by making chimerical receptor constructs of the human melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R; a receptor that is not inhibited by AGRP) and the human MC4R (a receptor that is potently inhibited by AGRP). Substitutions of the extracytoplasmic NH2 terminus and the first extracytoplasmic loop (exoloop) of the MC4R with homologous domains of the MC1R had no effect on AGRP (87-132) binding affinity or inhibitory activity (the ability to inhibit melanocortin-stimulated cAMP generation). In contrast, cassette substitutions of exoloops 2 and 3 of the MC4R with the homologous exoloops of the MC1R resulted in a substantial loss of AGRP binding affinity and inhibitory activity. Conversely, the exchange of exoloops 2 and 3 of the MC1R with the homologous exoloops of the MC4R was found to confer AGRP binding and inhibitory activity to the basic structure of the MC1R. Importantly, these substitutions did not affect the ability of the alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone analogue [Nle4,D-Phe7] melanocyte stimulating hormone to bind or activate the chimeric receptors. These data indicate that exoloops 2 and 3 of the melanocortin receptors are important for AGRP binding.  (+info)

(4/239) Altered energy balance causes selective changes in melanocortin-4(MC4-R), but not melanocortin-3 (MC3-R), receptors in specific hypothalamic regions: further evidence that activation of MC4-R is a physiological inhibitor of feeding.

We have examined the effects of underfeeding and obesity on the density of hypothalamic melanocortin MC3 and MC4 receptors (MC3-R and MC4-R, respectively), which may mediate the hypophagic effects of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) in the rat. MC3-R and MC4-R were measured by quantitative autoradiography in brain sections using 125I-labeled Nle4-D-Phe7-alpha-MSH (125I-NDP-MSH) and discriminated by masking MC3-R with excess unlabelled gamma2-MSH. High densities of MC4-R occurred in the ventromedial (VMH) and arcuate (ARC) nuclei, median eminence (ME), and medial habenular nucleus (MHb), with lower densities in the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) and forebrain regions. MC3-R were confined to the VMH, ARC, and MHb. After 10-days of food restriction (14% weight loss), density of MC4-R was significantly increased by 20-65% in the VMH, ARC, ME, and DMH, with no changes elsewhere. Similarly, obese (fa/fa) Zucker rats showed 43-98% increases in MC4-R in the same regions. By contrast, rats with diet-induced obesity (18% heavier than controls) showed significantly decreased binding to MC4-R, especially in the VMH, ARC, and ME. MC3-R showed no significant alterations in any model. We suggest that increased density of MC4-R with food restriction and in obese Zucker rats reflects receptor upregulation secondary to decreased release of alpha-MSH, consistent with increased hunger in these models. Conversely, downregulation of MC4-R in diet-induced obesity may indicate increased alpha-MSH secretion in an attempt to limit overeating. This alpha-MSH/MC4-R system may be inhibited by leptin and/or insulin. MC3-R are not apparently involved in regulating feeding.  (+info)

(5/239) Down-regulation of melanocortin receptor signaling mediated by the amino terminus of Agouti protein in Xenopus melanophores.

Agouti protein and Agouti-related protein (Agrp) regulate pigmentation and body weight, respectively, by antagonizing melanocortin receptor signaling. A carboxyl-terminal fragment of Agouti protein, Ser73-Cys131, is sufficient for melanocortin receptor antagonism, but Western blot analysis of skin extracts reveals that the electrophoretic mobility of native Agouti protein corresponds to the mature full-length form, His23-Cys131. To investigate the potential role of the amino-terminal residues, we compared the function of full-length and carboxyl-terminal fragments of Agrp and Agouti protein in a sensitive bioassay based on pigment dispersion in Xenopus melanophores. We find that carboxyl-terminal Agouti protein, and all forms of Agrp tested, act solely by competitive antagonism of melanocortin action. However, full-length Agouti protein acts by an additional mechanism that is time- and temperature-dependent, depresses maximal levels of pigment dispersion, and is therefore likely to be mediated by receptor down-regulation. Apparent down-regulation is not observed for a mixture of amino-terminal and carboxyl-terminal fragments. We propose that the phenotypic effects of Agouti in vivo represent a bipartite mechanism: competitive antagonism of agonist binding by the carboxyl-terminal portion of Agouti protein and down-regulation of melanocortin receptor signaling by an unknown mechanism that requires residues in the amino terminus of the Agouti protein.  (+info)

(6/239) Conformation of the core sequence in melanocortin peptides directs selectivity for the melanocortin MC3 and MC4 receptors.

Melanocortin peptides regulate a variety of physiological processes. Five melanocortin receptors (MC-R) have been cloned and the MC3R and MC4R are the main brain MC receptors. The aim of this study was to identify structural requirements in both ligand and receptor that determine gamma-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) selectivity for the MC3R versus the MC4R. Substitution of Asp10 in [Nle4]Lys-gamma2-MSH for Gly10 from [Nle4]alpha-MSH, increased both activity and affinity for the MC4R while the MC3R remained unaffected. Analysis of chimeric MC3R/MC4Rs and mutant MC4Rs showed that Tyr268 of the MC4R mainly determined the low affinity for [Nle4]Lys-gamma2-MSH. The data demonstrate that Asp10 determines selectivity for the MC3R, however, not through direct side chain interactions, but probably by influencing how the melanocortin core sequence is presented to the receptor-binding pocket. This is supported by mutagenesis of Tyr268 to Ile in the MC4R which increased affinity and activity for [Nle4]Lys-gamma2-MSH, but decreased affinity for two peptides with constrained cyclic structure of the melanocortin core sequence, MT-II and [D-Tyr4]MT-II, that also displayed lower affinity for the MC3R. This study provides a general concept for peptide receptor selectivity, in which the major determinant for a selective receptor interaction is the conformational presentation of the core sequence in related peptides to the receptor-binding pocket.  (+info)

(7/239) POMC gene-derived peptides activate melanocortin type 3 receptor on murine macrophages, suppress cytokine release, and inhibit neutrophil migration in acute experimental inflammation.

To investigate the relevance of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) therapy in human gouty arthritis, we have tested the effect of several ACTH-related peptides in a murine model of experimental gout. Systemic treatment of mice with ACTH4-10 (MEHFRWG) (10-200 microgram s. c.) inhibited neutrophil accumulation without altering peripheral blood cell counts or circulating corticosterone levels. A similar effect was seen with alpha- and beta-melanocyte stimulating hormones (1-30 microgram s.c.). In vivo release of the chemokine KC-(detected in the lavage fluids before maximal influx of neutrophils) was significantly reduced (-50 to -60%) by ACTH4-10. Macrophage activation in vitro, determined as phagocytosis and KC release, was inhibited by ACTH and ACTH4-10 with approximate IC50 values of 30 nM and 100 microM, respectively. The melanocortin receptor type 3/4 antagonist SHU9119 prevented the inhibitory actions of ACTH4-10 both in vitro and in vivo. However, melanocortin type 3, but not type 4, receptor mRNA was detected in mouse peritoneal macrophages by RT-PCR. Therefore, we propose that activation of this receptor type by ACTH4-10 and related amino acid sequences attenuates KC release (and possibly production of other cytokines) from macrophages with consequent inhibition of the host inflammatory response, thus providing a notional anti-inflammatory mechanism for ACTH that is unrelated to stimulation of glucocorticoid release.  (+info)

(8/239) Molecular analysis of a new splice variant of the human melanocortin-1 receptor.

The primary hormonal regulator of pigmentation is melanocyte stimulating hormone derived from proopiomelanocortin by proteolytic processing. The melanocortin-1 receptor serves a key role in the regulation of pigmentation. We describe the identification of the first intron within a melanocortin receptor. A new melanocortin-1 receptor isoform, generated by alternative mRNA splicing, encodes an additional 65 amino acids at the predicted intracellular, C-terminal tail of the melanocortin-1 receptor. When expressed in heterologous cells, the new spliced form of the melanocortin-1 receptor (melanocortin-1 receptor B) appears pharmacologically similar to the non-spliced melanocortin-1 receptor. Melanocortin-1 receptor B is expressed in testis, fetal heart and melanomas.  (+info)