Intracellular signaling pathways activated by kisspeptins through GPR54: do multiple signals underlie function diversity?

Peptides. 2009 Jan;30(1):10-5. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2008.07.025. Epub 2008 Aug 15.


Kisspeptins, a family of peptide products derived from the KiSS-1 gene, activate their cognate receptor GPR54 in various target tissues to exert disparate functions, including inhibition of tumor metastasis and control of reproductive function. In contrast to the plethora of studies that have analyzed in recent years the regulatory functions of the KiSS-1/GPR54 system, only a limited number of reports have been primarily focused on delineating the intracellular signaling pathways involved. Nevertheless, there is solid evidence indicating that kisspeptin can activate a wide variety of signals via GPR54. These include typical G-protein (Galphaq/11)-coupled cascades, such as activation of phospholipase C (PLC), and subsequent accumulation of inositol-(1,4,5)-triphosphate (IP3), intracellular Ca(2+) mobilization, and activation of protein kinase C. However, kisspeptin also activates pathways related to mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPK), especially ERK1/2, and p38 and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt. Additionally, the kisspeptin/GPR54 pair can also influence cell signaling by interacting with other receptors, such as chemokine receptor CXCR4, and GnRH receptor. Kisspeptin can also affect other signaling events, like expression of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (via NFkappaB), and that of calcineurin. The information gathered hitherto clearly indicates that activation of a specific set of interconnected signals is selectively triggered by kisspeptin via GPR54 in a cell type-dependent manner to precisely regulate functions as distinct as hormone release and cell migration. In this scenario, it will be important to decipher kisspeptin/GPR54 signaling mechanisms in reproductive and non-reproductive tissues by studying additional models, especially on natural kisspeptin targets expressing endogenous GPR54.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kisspeptins
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Kisspeptin-1
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Type C Phospholipases / metabolism


  • Chemokines
  • KISS1 protein, human
  • KISS1R protein, human
  • Kisspeptins
  • NF-kappa B
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Kisspeptin-1
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Type C Phospholipases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • Calcium