The orexin 1 receptor modulates kappa opioid receptor function via a JNK-dependent mechanism.

Authors: Robinson, JD., and McDonald, PH.
Publisher/Year: Cellular Signaling. 27(7):1449-56.
Pub Med ID/Journal ID: PMID:25857454


The orexin 1 receptor (OX1R) and the kappa opioid receptor (KOR) are two G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) previously demonstrated to play important roles in modulating the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse such as cocaine. Using cells heterologously expressing both receptors, we investigated whether OX1R can regulate the function of KOR and vice versa. Activation of OX1R was found to attenuate agonist-activated KOR-mediated inhibition of cAMP production. In contrast, agonist-activated KOR-mediated β-arrestin recruitment and p38 activation were enhanced in the presence of activated OX1R. These effects are independent of OX1R internalization but are blocked in the presence of the JNK inhibitor SP-600125. OX1R signaling does not affect ligand binding by KOR. Taken together, these data suggest that OX1R signaling can modulate KOR function in a JNK-dependent manner, promoting preferential signaling of KOR via β-arrestin/p38 rather than Gαi. Conversely, Gαq coupling of OX1R is unaffected by activation of KOR, suggesting that this crosstalk is unidirectional. Given that KOR Gαi-mediated signaling events and β-arrestin-mediated signaling events are thought to promote distinct cellular responses and physiological outcomes downstream of KOR activation, this mechanism may have important implications on the behavioral effects of KOR activity.