Insights into mechanisms of corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor signal transduction

Authors

  • Dimitris K Grammatopoulos

    Corresponding author
    1. Endocrinology and Metabolism, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
      Dimitris K. Grammatopoulos, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK. E-mail: d.grammatopoulos@warwick.ac.uk
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Dimitris K. Grammatopoulos, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK. E-mail: d.grammatopoulos@warwick.ac.uk

Abstract

During evolution, mammals have developed remarkably similar molecular mechanisms to respond to external challenges and maintain survival. Critical regulators of these mechanisms are the family of ‘stress’-peptides that consists of the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and urocortins (Ucns). These neuropeptides ‘fine-tune’ integration of an intricate series of physiological responses involving the autonomic, endocrine, immune, cardiovascular and reproductive systems, which induce a spectrum of behavioural and homeostatic changes. CRH and Ucns exert their actions by activating two types of CRH receptors (CRH-R), CRH-R1 and CRH-R2, which belong to the class-B1 family of GPCRs. The CRH-Rs exhibit signalling promiscuity facilitated by their ability to couple to multiple G-proteins and regulate diverse intracellular networks that involve intracellular effectors such as cAMP and an array of PKs in an agonist and tissue-specific manner, a property that allows them to exert unique roles in the integration of homeostatic mechanisms. We only now begin to unravel the plethora of CRH-R biological actions and the transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms such as alternative mRNA splicing or phosphorylation-mediated desensitization developed to tightly control CRH-Rs biological activity and regulate their physiological actions. This review summarizes the current understanding of CRH-R signalling complexity and regulatory mechanisms that underpin cellular responses to CRH and Ucns.

LINKED ARTICLES This article is part of a themed section on Secretin Family (Class B) G Protein-Coupled Receptors. To view the other articles in this section visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bph.2012.166.issue-1

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