Mechanisms attenuating cellular responses to neuropeptides: Extracellular degradation of ligands and desensitizatioii of receptors

Eileen Grady, Stephan Böhm, Karen McConalogue, Adella Garland, John Ansel, John Olerud, Nigel Bunnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuropeptides make up one of the largest and functionally most diverse groups of signaling molecules. They exert their effects by interacting with members of the large family of G-protein-coupled receptors, which transmit information about the extracellular environment to the interior of the cell by interacting with the heterotrimeric G-proteins. Cellular responses to neuropeptides are usually rapidly attenuated. Mechanisms of signal attenuation include removal of peptides from the extracellular fluid and receptor desensitization. Peptides are removed from the extracellular fluid principally by enzymatic degradation by cell surface enzymes, exemplified by neutral endopeptidase. Receptor desensitization is mediated by receptor phosphorylation by G-protein receptor kinases and second messenger kinases, interaction of receptors with arrestins, and consequent receptor uncoupling from G-proteins. Peptides also induce endocytosis of their receptors, which may contribute to desensitization by depleting the cell surface of high-affinity receptors. Recycling and processing of internalized receptors, which include dissociation of receptors from their ligands and receptor dephosphorylation, contribute to resensitization of cellular responses. These regulatory mechanisms are important for they determine the ability of cells to respond to agonists, and defects may result in uncontrolled stimulation of cells, which could cause disease. A greater understanding of the processes that modulate signaling by neuropeptides may lead to the development of novel receptor antagonists and agonists and help to explain the mechanism of drug tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


  • Lationlg-
  • Neuropeptidasesl receptor downreeu-
  • Protein-coupled receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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