Molecular determinants and feedback circuits regulating type 2 CRH receptor signal integration

Danijela Markovic, Anu Punn, Hendrik Lehnert, Dimitris K. Grammatopoulos*

*Corresponding author for this work
8 Citations (Scopus)


In most target tissues, the adenylyl cyclase/cAMP/PKA, the extracellular signal regulated kinase and the protein kinase B/Akt are the main pathways employed by the type 2 corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor to mediate the biological actions of urocortins (Ucns) and CRH. To decipher the molecular determinants of CRH-R2 signaling, we studied the signaling pathways in HEK293 cells overexpressing recombinant human CRH-R2β receptors. Use of specific kinase inhibitors showed that the CRH-R2β cognate agonist, Ucn 2, activated extracellular signal regulated kinase in a phosphoinositide 3-kinase and cyclic adenosine monophosphate/PKA-dependent manner with contribution from Epac activation. Ucn 2 also induced PKA-dependent association between AKAP250 and CRH-R2β that appeared to be necessary for extracellular signal regulated kinase activation. PKB/Akt activation was also mediated via pertussis toxin-sensitive G-proteins and PI3-K activation but did not require cAMP/PKA, Epac or protein kinase C for optimal activation. Potential feedback mechanisms that target the CRH-R2β itself and modulate receptor trafficking and endocytosis were also investigated. Indeed, our results suggested that inhibition of either PKA or extracellular signal regulated kinase pathway accelerates CRH-R2β endocytosis. Furthermore, Ucn 2-activated extracellular signal regulated kinase appeared to target β-arrestin1 and modulate, through phosphorylation at Ser412, β-arrestin1 translocation to the plasma membrane and CRH-R2β internalization kinetics. Loss of this "negative feedback" mechanism through inhibition of the extracellular signal regulated kinase activity resulted in significant attenuation of Ucn 2-induced cAMP response, whereas Akt phosphorylation was not affected by altered receptor endocytosis. These findings reveal a complex interplay between the signaling molecules that allow "fine-tuning" of CRH-R2β functional responses and regulate signal integration. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: 11th European Symposium on Calcium.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)896-907
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 01.05.2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular determinants and feedback circuits regulating type 2 CRH receptor signal integration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this