A point mutation in the human melanin concentrating hormone receptor 1 reveals an important domain for cellular trafficking

Mol Endocrinol. 2005 Oct;19(10):2579-90. doi: 10.1210/me.2004-0301. Epub 2005 May 31.


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are heptahelical integral membrane proteins that require cell surface expression to elicit their effects. The lack of appropriate expression of GPCRs may be the underlying cause of a number of inherited disorders. There is evidence that newly synthesized GPCRs must attain a specific conformation for their correct trafficking to the cell surface. In this study, we show that a single point mutation in human melanin-concentrating hormone receptor (hMCHR1) at position 255 (T255A), which is located at the junction of intracellular loop 3 and transmembrane domain 6, reduces the hMCHR1 cell surface expression level to 20% of that observed for the wild-type receptor. Most of these mutant receptors are located intracellularly, as opposed to the wild-type receptor, which is located primarily on the cell surface. Immunoprecipitation experiments show that hMCHR1-T255A has reduced glycosylation compared with the wild-type receptor and is associated with the chaperone protein, calnexin, and it colocalizes in the endoplasmic reticulum with KDEL-containing proteins. We also demonstrate that a cell-permeable small molecule antagonist of hMCHR1 can function as a pharmacological chaperone to restore cell surface expression of this and other MCHR1 mutants to wild-type levels. Once rescued, the T255A mutant couples to Gq proteins as efficiently as the wild-type receptor. These data suggest that this single mutation produces an hMCHR1 that folds incorrectly, resulting in its retention in the endoplasmic reticulum, but once rescued to the cell surface can still function normally.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamic Hormones / metabolism*
  • Melanins / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pituitary Hormones / metabolism*
  • Point Mutation*
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / genetics*
  • Receptors, Somatostatin / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Transfection


  • Hypothalamic Hormones
  • MCHR1 protein, human
  • Melanins
  • Pituitary Hormones
  • Receptors, Somatostatin
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • melanin-concentrating hormone