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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A single nucleotide polymorphic mutation in the human mu-opioid receptor severely impairs receptor signaling.

Large scale sequencing of the human mu-opioid receptor ( hMOR) gene has revealed polymorphic mutations that occur within the coding region. We have investigated whether the mutations N40D in the extracellular N-terminal region, N152D in the third transmembrane domain, and R265H and S268P in the third intracellular loop alter functional properties of the receptor expressed in mammalian cells. The N152D receptor was produced at low densities. Binding affinities of structurally diverse opioids (morphine, diprenorphine, DAMGO and CTOP) and the main endogenous opioid peptides (beta-endorphin, [Met]enkephalin, and dynorphin A) were not markedly changed in mutant receptors (<3-fold). Receptor signaling was strongly impaired in the S268P mutant, with a reduction of efficacy and potency of several agonists (DAMGO, beta-endorphin, and morphine) in two distinct functional assays. Signaling at N40D and R265H mutants was highly similar to wild type, and none of the mutations induced detectable constitutive activity. DAMGO-induced down-regulation of receptor-binding sites, following 20 h of treatment, was identical in wild-type and mutant receptors. Our data show that natural sequence variations in hMOR gene have little influence on ligand binding or receptor down-regulation but could otherwise modify receptor density and signaling. Importantly, the S268P mutation represents a loss-of-function mutation for the human mu-opioid receptor, which may have an incidence on opioid-regulated behaviors or drug addiction in vivo.[1]


  1. A single nucleotide polymorphic mutation in the human mu-opioid receptor severely impairs receptor signaling. Befort, K., Filliol, D., Decaillot, F.M., Gaveriaux-Ruff, C., Hoehe, M.R., Kieffer, B.L. J. Biol. Chem. (2001) [Pubmed]
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