Melanocortin Receptor Accessory Proteins (MRAPs): Functions in the melanocortin system and beyond

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2017 Oct;1863(10 Pt A):2462-2467. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2017.05.008. Epub 2017 May 9.


G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are regulated by numerous proteins including kinases, G-proteins, β-arrestins and accessory proteins. Several families of GPCR accessory proteins like Receptor Activity Modifying Proteins, Receptor Transporting Proteins and Melanocortin Receptor Accessory Proteins (MRAPs) have been identified as regulator of receptor trafficking, signaling and ligand specificity. The MRAP family contains two members, MRAP1 and MRAP2, responsible for the formation of a functional ACTH receptor and for the regulation of energy homeostasis respectively. Like all known GPCR accessory proteins, MRAPs are single transmembrane proteins, however, they form a unique structure since they assemble as an anti-parallel homodimer. Moreover, the accepted idea that MRAPs are specific regulators of melanocortin receptors was recently challenged by the discovery that MRAP2 inhibits the activity of prokineticin receptors. Recent studies are starting to explain the role of the unusual structure of MRAPs and to illustrate the importance of MRAP2 for the maintenance of both energy and glucose homeostasis. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Melanocortin Receptors - edited by Ya-Xiong Tao.

Keywords: Diabetes; GPCR; MRAP; MRAP2; Melanocortin; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Adrenal Glands / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Melanocortins / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Interaction Maps
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Receptors, Melanocortin / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Carrier Proteins
  • MRAP2 protein, human
  • Melanocortins
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Melanocortin
  • Glucose