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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jul 2023 - 21 Jul 2023

Basic Science, Psychology

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Migraine/Headache, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Jul 07



Rare GPR37L1 variants reveal potential roles in anxiety and migraine disorders.


Breitwieser GE, Cippitelli A, Wang Y, Pelletier O, Dershem R, Wei J, Toll L, Fakhoury B, Brunori G, Metpally R, Carey DJ, , Robishaw J


GPR37L1 is an orphan receptor that couples through heterotrimeric G-proteins to regulate physiological functions. Since its role in humans is not fully defined, we used an unbiased computational approach to assess the clinical significance of rare genetic variants found among 51,289 whole exome sequences from the DiscovEHR cohort. Briefly, rare coding variants were binned according to predicted pathogenicity, and analyzed by Sequence Kernel Association testing to reveal significant associations with disease diagnostic codes for epilepsy and migraine, among others. Since associations do not prove causality, rare variants were then functionally analyzed in SK-N-MC cells to evaluate potential signaling differences and pathogenicity. Notably, receptor variants exhibited varying abilities to reduce cAMP levels, activate MAPK signaling, and/or upregulate receptor expression in response to the agonist prosaptide (TX14(A)), as compared to the wild-type receptor. In addition to signaling changes, knockout of GPR37L1 or expression of certain rare variants altered cellular cholesterol levels, which were also acutely regulated by administration of the agonist TX14(A) via activation of the MAPK pathway. Finally, to simulate the impact of rare nonsense variants found in the large patient cohort, a knockout (KO) mouse line lacking was generated, revealing loss of this receptor produced sex-specific changes implicated in migraine-related disorders. Collectively, these observations define the existence of rare GPR37L1 variants in the human population that are associated with neuropsychiatric conditions and identify the underlying signaling changes that are implicated in the actions of this receptor in pathological processes leading to anxiety and migraine.