μ and κ opioid receptors activate ERK/MAPK via different protein kinase C isoforms and secondary messengers in astrocytes

Mariana M. Belcheva, Amy L. Clark, Paul D. Haas, Jannie S. Serna, Jason W. Hahn, Alexi Kiss, Carmine J. Coscia

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128 Scopus citations

Abstract

Acute μ and κ opioids activate the ERK/MAPK phosphorylation cascade that represents an integral part of the signaling pathway of growth factors in astrocytes. By this cross-talk, opioids may impact neural development and plasticity among other basic neurobiological processes in vivo. The μ agonist, [D-ala2,mephe4,glyol5]enkephalin (DAMGO), induces a transient stimulation of ERK phosphorylation, whereas κ agonist, U69,593, engenders sustained ERK activation. Here we demonstrate that acute U69,593 and DAMGO stimulate ERK phosphorylation by utilization of different secondary messengers and protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms upstream of the growth factor pathway. Immortalized astrocytes transfected with either antisense calmodulin (CaM), a mutant μ opioid receptor that binds CaM poorly or a dominant negative mutant of PKCε were used as a model system to study μ signaling. Evidence was gained to implicate CaM and PKCε in DAMGO stimulation of ERK. DAMGO activation of PKCε and/or ERK was insensitive to selective inhibitors of Ca2+ mobilization, but it was blocked upon phospholipase C inhibition. These results suggest a novel mechanism wherein, upon DAMGO binding, CaM is released from the μ receptor and activates phospholipase C. Subsequently, phospholipase C generates diacylglycerides that activate PKCε. In contrast, U69,593 appears to act via phosphoinositide 3-kinase, PKCζ, and Ca2+ mobilization. These signaling components were implicated based on studies with specific inhibitors and a dominant negative mutant of PKCζ. Collectively, our findings on acute opioid effects suggest that differences in their mechanism of signaling may contribute to the distinct outcomes on ERK modulation induced by chronic μ and κ opioids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27662-27669
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume280
Issue number30
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 29 2005

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