25 February 2005
Relaxin, G-protein-coupled receptors, Corticotropin-releasing hormone, Nucleus incertus, Stress, Cortex, Paraventricular nucleus, Supraoptic nucleus, Relaxin-3, In situ hybridization, INSL-7, Amygdala
G-protein-coupled receptor 135 (GPCR135), a former orphan GPCR also known as SALPR, has recently been shown to be modulated by relaxin-3 (R3). In addition to GPCR135, R3 has been shown to be an agonist for GPCR142 (which is a pseudogene in the rat) and to activate LGR7, which is primarily the receptor for relaxin-1/2. The interaction of R3 with LGR7 has confounded the autoradiographic study of the GPCR135 distribution in the rat CNS due to significant expression of LGR7 in the brain. R3/I5, a chimera of the B-chain of R3 bonded to the A-chain of INSL-5, is a specific GPCR135 agonist which is highly selective for GPCR135 over LGR7. [<sup>125</sup>I]R3/I5 specifically binds to sites on rat brain sections with a pharmacology matching results from membrane preparations of recombinant GPCR135 receptors. Autoradiographic studies show the GPCR135 receptor density is most prominent in areas such as the olfactory bulb, sensory cortex, amygdala, thalamus, paraventricular nucleus, supraoptic nucleus, inferior and superior colliculus. The GPCR135 mRNA distribution generally overlaps the pattern of GPCR135 binding sites shown by autoradiography using [<sup>125</sup>I]R3/I5. The nucleus incertus, which has been implicated in the extrapituitary actions of corticotropin-releasing hormone, is the primary source of R3 in the rat central nervous system and expresses GPCR135 receptors. These binding autoradiography and in situ hybridization data suggest that GPCR135 plays an important role in the central processing of sensory signals in rats, are consistent with a putative role for R3/GPCR135 as modulators of stress responses, and confirm the identity of R3 as the central nervous system ligand for GPCR135.