Trace Amine-Associated Receptor 1 Localization at the Apical Plasma Membrane Domain of Fisher Rat Thyroid Epithelial Cells Is Confined to Cilia

Eur Thyroid J. 2015 Sep;4(Suppl 1):30-41. doi: 10.1159/000434717. Epub 2015 Jun 10.


Background: The trace amine-associated receptor 1 (Taar1) is one member of the Taar family of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) accepting various biogenic amines as ligands. It has been proposed that Taar1 mediates rapid, membrane-initiated effects of thyronamines, the endogenous decarboxylated and deiodinated relatives of the classical thyroid hormones T4 and T3.

Objectives: Although the physiological actions of thyronamines in general and 3-iodothyronamine (T1AM) in particular are incompletely understood, studies published to date suggest that synthetic T1AM-activated Taar1 signaling antagonizes thyromimetic effects exerted by T3. However, the location of Taar1 is currently unknown.

Methods: To fill this gap in our knowledge we employed immunofluorescence microscopy and a polyclonal antibody to detect Taar1 protein expression in thyroid tissue from Fisher rats, wild-type and taar1-deficient mice, and in the polarized FRT cells.

Results: With this approach we found that Taar1 is expressed in the membranes of subcellular compartments of the secretory pathway and on the apical plasma membrane of FRT cells. Three-dimensional analyses further revealed Taar1 immunoreactivity in cilial extensions of postconfluent FRT cell cultures that had formed follicle-like structures.

Conclusions: The results suggest Taar1 transport along the secretory pathway and its accumulation in the primary cilium of thyrocytes. These findings are of significance considering the increasing interest in the role of cilia in harboring functional GPCR. We hypothesize that thyronamines can reach and activate Taar1 in thyroid follicular epithelia by acting from within the thyroid follicle lumen, their potential site of synthesis, as part of a nonclassical mechanism of thyroid autoregulation.

Keywords: G-protein-coupled receptors; Taar1; Thyroid follicle; Thyroid gland; Thyroid hormones; Thyronamines.