Eur J Pharmacol 2008 May 26;585(1):24-30. Epub 2008 Feb 26.
Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.
alpha-Melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) has a relatively low affinity for the melanocortin MC4 receptor. Constructs of multimeric alpha-MSH varying from one to eight subunits were synthesized to test whether they displayed an improved ability to bind to and activate the human melanocortin MC4 receptor. alpha-MSH subunits were coupled by a flexible linker and placed in front of an IRES-eGFP sequence. Efficacy for activation of the melanocortin MC4 receptor increased with every extra subunit, resulting in a 100 fold lower EC50 value of alpha-MSH8 when compared with alpha-MSH1. Furthermore, supernatant of cells transfected with alpha-MSH8 proved to have an increased affinity to the melanocortin MC4 receptor when compared to cells transfected with the other multimers. Together, these data show that multimeric alpha-MSH has improved ability to activate the human melanocortin MC4 receptor in vitro.