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MC2 (ACTH) receptors require MC2 receptor accessory protein (MRAP) to reach the cell surface. In this study, we show that MRAP has the opposite effect on the closely related MC5 receptor. In enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and microscopy experiments, MC2 receptor was retained in the endoplasmic reticulum in the absence of MRAP and targeted to the plasma membrane with MRAP. MC5 receptor was at the plasma membrane in the absence of MRAP, but trapped intracellularly when expressed with MRAP. Using bimolecular fluorescence complementation, where one fragment of yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) was fused to receptors and another to MRAP, we showed that MC2 receptor-MRAP dimers were present at the plasma membrane, whereas MC5 receptor-MRAP dimers were intracellular. Both MC2 and MC5 receptors co-precipitated with MRAP. MRAP did not alter expression of beta2-adrenergic receptors or co-precipitate with them. To determine if MRAP affects formation of receptor oligomers, we co-expressed MC2 receptors fused to YFP fragments in the presence or absence of MRAP. YFP fluorescence, reporting MC2 receptor homodimers, was readily detectable with or without MRAP. In contrast, MC5 receptor homodimers were visible in the absence of MRAP, but little fluorescence was observed by microscopic analysis when MRAP was co-expressed. Co-precipitation of differentially tagged receptors confirmed that MRAP blocks MC5 receptor dimerization. The regions of MRAP required for its effects on MC2 and MC5 receptors differed. These results establish that MRAP forms stable complexes with two different melanocortin receptors, facilitating surface expression of MC2 receptor but disrupting dimerization and surface localization of MC5 receptor.


Julien A Sebag, Patricia M Hinkle. Opposite effects of the melanocortin-2 (MC2) receptor accessory protein MRAP on MC2 and MC5 receptor dimerization and trafficking. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2009 Aug 21;284(34):22641-8

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PMID: 19535343

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