Neural expression of G protein-coupled receptors GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12 up-regulates cyclic AMP levels and promotes neurite outgrowth

Shigeru Tanaka, Ken Ishii, Kazue Kasai, Ok Yoon Sung, Yoshinaga Saeki

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100 Citations (Scopus)


Cyclic AMP regulates multiple neuronal functions, including neurite outgrowth and axonal regeneration. GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12 make up a family of constitutively active G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that share greater than 50% identity and 65% similarity at the amino acid level. They are highly expressed in the central nervous system, and their expression in various cell lines results in constitutive stimulation of cAMP production. When the constitutively active GPCRs were overexpressed in rat cerebellar granule neurons in culture, the transfected neurons exhibited significantly enhanced neurite outgrowth and overcame growth inhibition caused by myelin-associated glycoprotein. GPR12-mediated neurite outgrowth was the most prominent and was shown to depend on Gs and cAMP-dependent protein kinase. Moreover, the GPR12-mediated rescue from myelin-associated glycoprotein inhibition was attributable to cAMP-dependent protein kinase-mediated inhibition of the small GTPase, RhoA. Among the three receptors, GPR3 was revealed to be enriched in the developing rat cerebellar granule neurons. When the endogenous GPR3 was knocked down, significant reduction of neurite growth was observed, which was reversed by expression of either GPR3 or GPR12. Taken together, our results indicate that expression of the constitutively active GPCRs up-regulates cAMP production in neurons, stimulates neurite outgrowth, and counteracts myelin inhibition. Further characterization of the GPCRs in developing and injured mammalian neurons should provide insights into how basal cAMP levels are regulated in neurons and could establish a firm scientific foundation for applying receptor biology to treatment of various neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10506-10515
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Apr 6
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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