Pharmacological characterization of the stick insect Carausius morosus allatostatin-C receptor with its endogenous agonist


  • A. Işbilir
  • B. Duan Sahbaz
  • G. Tuncgenc
  • M. Bünemann
  • M.J. Lohse
  • N. Birgül-Iyison


  • ACS Omega


  • ACS Omega 5 (50): 32183-32194


  • G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) play a pivotal role in regulating key physiological events in all animal species. Recent advances in collective analysis of genes and proteins revealed numerous potential neuropeptides and GPCRs from insect species, allowing for the characterization of peptide–receptor pairs. In this work, we used fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based genetically encoded biosensors in intact mammalian cells to study the pharmacological features of the cognate GPCR of the type-C allatostatin (AST-C) peptide from the stick insect, Carausius morosus. Analysis of multiple downstream pathways revealed that AST-C can activate the human Gi(2) protein, and not Gs or Gq, through AST-C receptor (AlstRC). Activated AlstRC recruits β-arrestin2 independent of the Gi protein but stimulates ERK phosphorylation in a Gi protein-dependent manner. Identification of Gαi-, arrestin-, and GRK-like transcripts from C. morosus revealed high evolutionary conservation at the G protein level, while β-arrestins and GRKs displayed less conservation. In conclusion, our study provides experimental and homology-based evidence on the functionality of vertebrate G proteins and downstream signaling biosensors to characterize early signaling steps of an insect GPCR. These results may serve as a scaffold for developing assays to characterize pharmacological and structural aspects of other insect GPCRs and can be used in deorphanization and pesticide studies.