Pharmacological delta1- and delta2-opioid receptor subtypes in the human neuroblastoma cell line SK-N-BE: no evidence for distinct molecular entities

Author(s): Allouche S, Hasbi A, Ferey V, Sola B, Jauzac P, et al.


The two pharmacological delta-opioid receptor subtypes, delta1 and delta2, have been defined on the basis of pharmacological tools but remain to be characterized at the molecular level, since only a single cDNA has been cloned. The present study aimed to investigate the pharmacological properties of delta1- and delta2-opioid subtypes expressed in the human neuroblastoma cell line SK-N-BE and to characterize their putative corresponding mRNAs. Binding experiments using "selective" delta1- and delta2-opioid agonists and antagonists revealed the presence of two binding sites, demonstrating the presence of these delta1-opioid subtypes as they were previously described. The activation of these pharmacological subtypes by the selective agonists induced the incorporation of [alpha-(32)P]azidoanilide-GTP into Galpha(i2)/Galpha(0) subunits with the same efficiency and potency and inhibited adenosine 3', 5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) accumulation with similar efficiency, while their sustained activation for 15 min induced a cross-desensitization. The "selective" delta1 and delta2 antagonists, 7-benzylidenenaltrexone and naltrindole benzofuran, respectively, were found to be as potent in blocking the inhibition of cAMP accumulation induced by both [D-Pen(2,5)]enkephalin and Tyr-D-Ala-Phe-Asp-Val-Val-Gly-NH(2). The possibility that delta-opioid subtypes could arise from alternative splicing was ruled out by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) experiments and the sequencing of PCR products, which revealed the presence of a single transcript encoding for the delta-opioid receptor. Different possibilities which could account for the delta-opioid receptor heterogeneity observed in the SN-N-BE cell line are discussed.

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