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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

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Mu opiate receptor subtypes

Patrick Cadet

Med Sci Monit 2004; 10(6): MS28-32

ID: 11688

The m opiate receptor gene (MOR) has at least 14 exons that can generate 15 different splice variants. Recently, two new human MOR splice variants (hMOR-1O and hMOR-1X) have been identified and characterized. The two variants containing human MOR exons 1, 2, and 3 and a fourth alternative exon O, or exon X, are expressed in human brain tissue, and are selective for μ opioid binding in transfected cells. It is unclear; however, what the biologic role of these two novel human splice variants is in vivo. The μ3 opiate receptor subtype found in various human tissues where it is coupled to constitutive nitric oxide synthase derived nitric oxide release is characterized by its opiate alkaloid selectivity and its insensitivity to opioid peptides. The μ3 clone exhibits 100% identity to the μ1 receptor subtype in the center and conserved region, but with a truncated 5’-end (position 503 of μ1 mRNA) (missing several hundred nucleotides). In addition, the 3’-end of the new clone contains the 3’-end of the μ1 receptor, followed by a new fragment of 263 bases, and then by a 202 bp fragment of the 3’-end of the μ1 gene untranslated region. When μ3 is expressed in a heterologous system, the protein produced from this cDNA exhibits all of the expected biochemical characteristics of the μ3 receptor. The isolation of this novel splice variant adds support to the presence of morphinergic signaling in animals.

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