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Papers of the Week

1992 Dec 15

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A



Classic Paper

The delta-opioid receptor: isolation of a cDNA by expression cloning and pharmacological characterization.


Kieffer BL, Befort K, Gaveriaux-Ruff C, Hirth CG
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Dec 15; 89(24):12048-52.
PMID: 1334555.


A random primed expression cDNA library was constructed from the RNA of NG 108-15 cells. Pools of plasmid DNA were transfected into COS cells, which were screened for their ability to bind 3H-labeled Tyr-D-Thr-Gly-Phe-Leu-Thr, a tritiated agonist for the delta-opioid receptor. A cDNA was isolated that encodes a 371-amino acid-residue protein presenting all the structural characteristics of receptors that interact with guanine nucleotide-binding proteins. Noticeable features are (i) the high hydrophobicity of the encoded protein, (ii) its low sequence similarity to both catecholamine receptors and peptide-binding receptors, although it presents the typical aspartate residue involved in catecholamine binding of the first group and the characteristic short third cytoplasmic loop of the second group. When expressed in COS cells, the receptor exhibits pharmacological properties similar to those of the native receptor: high-affinity binding sites for 3H-labeled Tyr-D-Thr-Gly-Phe-Leu-Thr (Kd = 1.4 nM), stereospecific binding sites for the – enantiomers of levorphanol and naloxone, and the selectivity profile of a delta receptor, as determined by competition experiments with a set of mu-, delta-, and kappa-opioid ligands.