The Journal of biological chemistry

Molecular cloning of a novel melanocortin receptor.

PMID 8463333


Using the technique of the polymerase chain reaction primed with oligonucleotides based on the homologous transmembrane regions of seven transmembrane G protein-linked receptors, we isolated three full-length human genes that encode a novel subgroup of this receptor family. Recently, two of these receptors were identified as specific for alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) and adrenocorticotropic hormone. We report the molecular cloning and pharmacologic characterization of a third member of this subgroup. The gene for this receptor encodes a protein of 361 amino acids in length. Its pharmacology characterizes it as an MSH receptor specific to the heptapeptide core common to adrenocorticotropic hormone and alpha-, beta-, and gamma-MSH. By Northern blot hybridization and polymerase chain reaction, it is expressed in brain, placental, and gut tissues but not in melanoma cells or in the adrenal gland. These findings may yield insight into the physiology of peptides derived from pro-opiomelanocortin post-translational processing.