MCH receptors/gene structure-in vivo expression.

PMID 19647772


Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is a cyclic peptide which was originally discovered in fish to lighten skin color by affecting melanosomes aggregation. This peptide is highly conserved and also found in rodents whose gene is overexpressed upon fasting. However, the site of MCH action remained obscure until its receptor was discovered in 1999 as a G protein-coupled receptor. After this receptor structure was identified, the functional domains important for MCH-MCHR interaction were revealed. Moreover, the cloning of the MCH receptor led us to identify the in vivo sites of MCH action which suggested potential physiological functions of the MCH system. Furthermore, the MCH receptor identification allow for designing surrogate molecules which can block MCH activity. Studies using these molecules revealed various physiological functions of the MCH system not only in feeding but also in other physiological responses such as stress and emotion. This review will discuss how the MCH receptor was discovered and its impact on many studies investigating the MCH receptor's structure, signaling pathways, and expression pattern.

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