Cloning and characterization of the porcine gastrin/cholecystokinin type 2 receptor

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The gastrointestinal hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) regulates digestive processes and satiety in addition to centrally mediated effects on nociception and anxiety. CCK signals through two seven-trans-membrane receptors named the CCK-1 receptor and the CCK-2 receptor. The expression pattern and biological effects mediated by the CCK-1 and CCK-2 receptors are highly divergent. The pig is a widely used preclinical animal model in medical research, but up until recently, the porcine CCK-2 receptor was described as a pseudogene in the publicly available genomic sequence databases. Thus, it was challenging to interpret data from this animal model in studies of CCK biology and pharmacology. Here we describe an in silico prediction of the porcine CCK-2 receptor and the subsequent cloning, expression, and in vitro pharmacological characterization. We find a high degree of sequence homology with the human orthologue as well as CCK-2 receptors of other major species used in pre-clinical research. We also show that the endogenous ligands CCK-8 and Gastrin-17 bind and activate the porcine CCK-2 receptor with similar affinities and potencies as seen for the human CCK-2 receptor. We conclude that the pig has a functional CCK-2 receptor which is highly comparable to the human orthologue and therefore the pig qualifies as a valid preclinical model for the study of human CCK biology and pharmacology.

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