Biochimica et biophysica acta

The melanocortin 4 receptor: oligomer formation, interaction sites and functional significance.

PMID 23088915


This study involves the structural and functional properties of the recombinant melanocortin 4 receptor (MC(4)R) expressed in the HEK-293 cell line. Using co-immuno-purification approaches, the receptor appears to be an oligomer, which can be crosslinked through disulphide bonds involving a native cysteine residue (84) to give a dimeric species. This position is located near the cytosolic region of transmembrane segment 2 and it is suggested that this is an interacting interface between MC(4)R monomers. Using co-expression of the native protein and a C84A mutant, it appears that the receptor also forms higher order oligomers via alternative interfaces. Interestingly, disulphide crosslink formation does not occur if the receptor is uncoupled from its G-protein, even though the oligomeric state is preserved. This suggests that the conformational changes, which occur on activation, affect the TM2 interface. The pharmacology of the agonist, NDP-MSH, indicates that the MC(4)R retains high affinity for the ligand in the absence of the G-protein but occupancy for the ligand is increased. The data can be interpreted to suggest that the G-protein exerts a negative allosteric effect on the receptor. Co-expression of one receptor lacking the ability to signal with another, which cannot bind the agonist, restored ligand-dependent activation of the G-protein to situations in which neither receptor on its own could activate the G-protein. Such transactivation suggests meaningful cross talk between the receptor subunits in the oligomeric complex. These studies demonstrate further unique features of the MC(4)R.

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[Nle4, D-Phe7]-α-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone trifluoroacetate salt, ≥95% (HPLC)
C78H111N21O19 · xC2HF3O2