Cloning and characterization of murine neuromedin U receptors

Peptides. 2002 Sep;23(9):1607-15. doi: 10.1016/s0196-9781(02)00097-9.


Neuromedin U (NmU) is a neuropeptide involved in various physiological functions such as feeding behavior, muscle contractile activity, and regulation of intestinal ion transport. Recently, two human G protein-coupled receptors have been identified as NmU-specific receptors, NmU-R1 and NmU-R2, which share 55% amino acid identity. It is unclear however, which of the two receptors mediates responses to NmU observed in rodent models. Attempts to define the pharmacological profile of the two receptors are confounded by overlapping expression of the two receptors and a lack of subtype-selective compounds. In order to establish a basis to further our understanding of the function of these receptors, we cloned and characterized the mouse homologues of the two human NmU receptors. Mouse NmU-R1 and mouse NmU-R2 are 79 and 81% identical to their respective human homologues. Expression of NmU-R1 was mainly observed in testis, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and immune system, while NmU-R2 was primarily expressed in brain tissues. Each mouse receptor was independently expressed in HEK293 cells and demonstrated a dose-dependent calcium flux in response to NmU-8, NmU-23 and NmU-25. In an attempt to identify a synthetic NmU peptide that would exhibit selectivity at one of the two receptors, we examined the functional activity of eight alanine-substituted NmU-8 peptides. These experiments demonstrated that alanine substitution at positions 5 and 7 affects the functional activity of the peptide at both receptors. The arginine residue at position 7 is required for NmU-8 activity at either receptor while alanine substitution at position 5 selectively affects the potency and the efficacy at mNmU-R1. These experiments validate the use of rodent models to characterize NmU function relative to humans and suggest that substitution at Arginine-5 of NmU-8 may provide a receptor selective peptide.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Arginine / chemistry
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Complementary / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neuropeptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tissue Distribution


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Peptides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter
  • neuromedin U receptor
  • Arginine
  • Calcium