Investigating the role of MRGPRC11 and capsaicin-sensitive afferent nerves in the anti-influenza effects exerted by SLIGRLamide in murine airways

Amy Y. Chang, Tracy S. Mann, Peter K. McFawn, Liang Han, Xinzhong Dong, Peter J. Henry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The hexapeptide SLIGRL-amide activates protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) and mas-related G protein-coupled receptor C11 (MRGPRC11), both of which are known to be expressed on populations of sensory nerves. SLIGRL-amide has recently been reported to inhibit influenza A (IAV) infection in mice independently of PAR-2 activation, however the explicit roles of MRGPRC11 and sensory nerves in this process are unknown. Thus, the principal aim of this study was to determine whether SLIGRL-amide-induced inhibition of influenza infection is mediated by MRGPRC11 and/or by capsaicin-sensitive sensory nerves. Methods: The inhibitory effect of SLIGRL-amide on IAV infection observed in control mice in vivo was compared to effects produced in mice that did not express MRGPRC11 (mrgpr-clusterΔ-/- mice) or had impaired sensory nerve function (induced by chronic pre-treatment with capsaicin). Complementary mechanistic studies using both in vivo and ex vivo approaches investigated whether the anti-IAV activity of SLIGRL-amide was (1) mimicked by either activators of MRGPRC11 (BAM8-22) or by activators (acute capsaicin) or selected mediators (substance P, CGRP) of sensory nerve function, or (2) suppressed by inhibitors of sensory nerve function (e.g. NK1 receptor antagonists). Results: SLIGRL-amide and BAM8-22 dose-dependently inhibited IAV infection in mrgpr-clusterΔ-/- mice that do not express MRGPRC11. In addition, SLIGRL-amide and BAM8-22 each inhibited IAV infection in capsaicin-pre-treated mice that lack functional sensory nerves. Furthermore, the anti-IAV activity of SLIGRL-amide was not mimicked by the sensory neuropeptides substance P or CGRP, nor blocked by either NK1 (L-703,606, RP67580) and CGRP receptor (CGRP8-37) antagonists. Direct stimulation of airway sensory nerves through acute exposure to the TRPV1 activator capsaicin also failed to mimic SLIGRL-amide-induced inhibition of IAV infectivity. The anti-IAV activity of SLIGRL-amide was mimicked by the purinoceptor agonist ATP, a direct activator of mucus secretion from airway epithelial cells. Additionally, both SLIGRL-amide and ATP stimulated mucus secretion and inhibited IAV infectivity in mouse isolated tracheal segments. Conclusions: SLIGRL-amide inhibits IAV infection independently of MRGPRC11 and independently of capsaicin-sensitive, neuropeptide-releasing sensory nerves, and its secretory action on epithelial cells warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number62
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalRespiratory research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Airway sensory nerves
  • Capsaicin
  • Influenza
  • Mas-related G protein-coupled receptor C11
  • Mucin
  • Neuropeptides
  • SLIGRL-amide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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