Differential signaling profiles of MC4R mutations with three different ligands


  • S. Paisdzior
  • I.M. Dimitriou
  • P.C. Schöpe
  • P. Annibale
  • P. Scheerer
  • H. Krude
  • M.J. Lohse
  • H. Biebermann
  • P. Kühnen


  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences


  • Int J Mol Sci 21 (4): 1224


  • The melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) is a key player in hypothalamic weight regulation and energy expenditure as part of the leptin-melanocortin pathway. Mutations in this G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) are the most common cause for monogenetic obesity, which appears to be mediated by changes in the anorectic action of MC4R via G(S)-dependent cyclic adenosine-monophosphate (cAMP) signaling as well as other signaling pathways. To study potential bias in the effects of MC4R mutations between the different signaling pathways, we investigated three major MC4R mutations: a G(S) loss-of-function (S127L) and a G(S) gain-of-function mutant (H158R), as well as the most common European single nucleotide polymorphism (V103I). We tested signaling of all four major G protein families plus extracellular regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation and β-arrestin2 recruitment, using the two endogenous agonists, α- and β-melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH), along with a synthetic peptide agonist (NDP-α-MSH). The S127L mutation led to a full loss-of-function in all investigated pathways, whereas V103I and H158R were clearly biased towards the G(q/11) pathway when challenged with the endogenous ligands. These results show that MC4R mutations can cause vastly different changes in the various MC4R signaling pathways and highlight the importance of a comprehensive characterization of receptor mutations.