Agonists activate Gi1 alpha or Gi2 alpha fused to the human mu opioid receptor differently

J Neurochem. 2002 Jun;81(6):1372-82. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2002.00946.x.


As preferential coupling of opioid receptor to various inhibitory Galpha subunits is still under debate, we have investigated the selectivity of the human mu opioid receptor fused to a pertussis toxin insensitive C351I Gi1 alpha or C352I Gi2 alpha in stably transfected HEK 293 cells. Overall agonist binding affinities were increased for both fusion constructs when compared to the wild type receptor. [35 S]GTPgammaS binding was performed on pertussis toxin treated cells to monitor coupling efficiency of the fusion constructs. Upon agonist addition hMOR-C351I Gi1 a exhibited an activation profile similar to the non-fused receptor while hMOR-C352I Gi2 alpha was poorly activated. Interestingly no correlation could be drawn between agonist binding affinity and efficacy. Upon agonist addition, forskolin-stimulated cAMP production, as measured using a reporter gene assay, was inhibited by signals transduced via the fused Gi1 alpha and Gi2 alpha mainly. In contrast both fusion constructs were able to initiate ERK-MAPK phosphorylation via coupling to endogenous G proteins only. In conclusion our data indicate that hMOR couples more efficiently to Gi1 alpha than Gi2 alpha and that the coupling efficacy is clearly agonist-dependent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Gene Fusion*
  • Cell Line
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunit, Gi2
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go / agonists*
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go / physiology*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Guanosine 5'-O-(3-Thiotriphosphate) / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / agonists*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology*
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / genetics*
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / metabolism*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu
  • Guanosine 5'-O-(3-Thiotriphosphate)
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • GNAI2 protein, human
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunit, Gi2
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go