Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is a hypothalamic neuropeptide that regulates several physiological functions. The orphan G protein-coupled receptors SLC-1 and MCHR2 were recently found to bind MCH with high affinity. We show here that the human melanoma cell line SK-MEL-37 expresses SLC-1 mRNA but not MCHR2 by RT-PCR analysis and immunofluorescence studies. Using Chinese hamster ovary cells and 293 cells overexpressing SLC-1 by cDNA transfection, it was shown that SLC-1 coupled to both G alpha(i)/G alpha(o) and G alpha(q) proteins. In SK-MEL-37 cells, MCH inhibited forskolin-stimulated cyclic AMP accumulation and induced mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in a pertussis toxin-(PTX)-sensitive manner. The MAPK activity leads to the production of phosphorylated forms of p42/p44 MAPK. However, an increase in the intracellular free Ca(2+) concentration was not elicited by MCH in SK-MEL-37 cells. These results show that SLC-1 is coupled only to PTX-sensitive G alpha(i)/G alpha(o) in SK-MEL-37 cells. This study provides for the first time a skin-derived cellular model to analyze the molecular mechanism of the MCH signaling pathway.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.