Differential responses of corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor type 1 variants to protein kinase C phosphorylation

Danijela Markovic, Nikolleta Papadopoulou, Thalia Teli, Harpal Randeva, Michael A. Levine, Edward W. Hillhouse, Dimitris K. Grammatopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) regulates diverse biological functions in mammals, through activation of two types of specific G protein-coupled receptors that are expressed as multiple mRNA spliced variants. In most cells, the type 1αCRH receptor (CRH-R1α) preferentially activates the Gs-adenylyl cyclase signaling cascade. CRH-R1β-mediated signaling activity is impaired by insertion of 29 amino acids in the first intracellular loop, a sequence modification that is characteristic of the human-specific CRH-R1β variant. In various tissues, CRH signaling events are regulated by protein kinase C (PKC). The CRH receptors contain multiple putative PKC phosphorylation sites that represent potential targets. To investigate this, we expressed recombinant CRH-R1α or CRH-R1β in human embryonic kidney 293 cells and analyzed signaling events after PKC activation. Agonist (oxytocin) or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-induced activation of PKC led to phosphorylation of both CRH-R1 variants. However, CRH-R1α and CRH-R1β exhibited different functional responses to PKC-induced phosphorylation, with only the CRH-R1β susceptible to cAMP signaling desensitization. This was associated with a significant decrease of accessible CRH-R1β receptors expressed on the cell surface. Both CRH-R1 variants were susceptible to homologous desensitization and internalization following treatment with CRH; however, PKC activation increased internalization of CRH-R1β but not CRH-R1α in a β-arrestin- independent manner. Our findings indicate that CRH-R1α and -R1β exhibit differential responses to PKC-induced phosphorylation, and this might represent an important mechanism for functional regulation of CRH signaling in target cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1032-1042
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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