Genetic dissection of the functions of the melanocortin-3 receptor, a seven-transmembrane G-protein-coupled receptor, suggests roles for central and peripheral receptors in energy homeostasis

Karima Begriche, Peter R. Levasseur, Jingying Zhang, Jari Rossi, Danielle Skorupa, Laura A. Solt, Brandon Young, Thomas P. Burris, Daniel L. Marks, Randall L. Mynatt, Andrew A. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

The melanocortin-3 receptor (MC3R) gene is pleiotropic, influencing body composition, natriuresis, immune function, and entrainment of circadian rhythms to nutrient intake. MC3Rs are expressed in hypothalamic and limbic regions of the brain and in peripheral tissues. To investigate the roles of central MC3Rs, we inserted a "lox-stop-lox" (LoxTB) 5′ of the translation initiation codon of the mouse Mc3r gene and reactivated transcription using neuron-specific Cre transgenic mice. As predicted based on earlier observations of Mc3r knock-out mice, Mc3r TB/TB mice displayed reduced lean mass, increased fat mass, and accelerated diet-induced obesity. Surprisingly, rescuing Mc3r expression in the nervous system using the Nestin-Cre transgene only partially rescued obesity in chow-fed conditions and had no impact on the accelerated diet-induced obesity phenotype. The ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), a critical node in the neural networks regulating feeding-related behaviors and metabolic homeostasis, exhibits dense Mc3r expression relative to other brain regions. To target VMH MC3R expression, we used the steroidogenic factor-1 Cre transgenic mouse. Although restoring VMH MC3R signaling also had a modest impact on obesity, marked improvements in metabolic homeostasis were observed. VMH MC3R signaling was not sufficient to rescue the lean mass phenotype or the regulation of behaviors anticipating food anticipation. These results suggest that actions of MC3Rs impacting on energy homeostasis involve both central and peripheral sites of action. The impact of central MC3Rs on behavior and metabolism involves divergent pathways; VMH MC3R signaling improves metabolic homeostasis but does not significantly impact on the expression of behaviors anticipating nutrient availability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40771-40781
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume286
Issue number47
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 25 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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