The N-terminal domain of human hemokinin-1 influences functional selectivity property for tachykinin receptor neurokinin-1

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Human hemokinin-1 (hHK-1) is a substance P-like tachykinin peptide preferentially expressed in non-neuronal tissues. It is involved in multiple physiological functions such as inflammation, hematopoietic cells development and vasodilatation via the interaction with tachykinin receptor neurokinin-1 (NK1). To further understand the intracellular signal transduction mechanism under such functional multiplicity, current study was focused on the differential activation of Gs and Gq pathways by hHK-1 and its C-terminal fragments, which is termed as functional selectivity. We demonstrated these hHK-1 and related peptide fragments can independently activate Gs and Gq pathways, showing a relative bias toward Gq over Gs pathway. The T1, K3 and Q6 of hHK-1 might play roles in the activation of adenylate cyclase mediated by Gs, while having negligible effect on Gq mediated intracellular calcium release. The stepwise truncation of N-terminal amino acid of hHK-1 caused gradual decrease in ERK1/2 phosphorylation level and NF-κB activity. However, it had little influence on the induction of NK1 receptor desensitization and internalization. Taken together these data support that hHK-1 and its C-terminal fragments are human NK1 receptor agonists with different functional selectivity properties and that such functional selectivity leads to differential activation of downstream signaling and receptor trafficking.

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