Opiate antagonist prevents μ- and δ-opiate receptor dimerization to facilitate ability of agonist to control ethanol-altered natural killer cell functions and mammary tumor growth

Dipak K. Sarkar, Amitabha Sengupta, Changqing Zhang, Nadka Boyadjieva, Sengottuvelan Murugan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the natural killer (NK) cells, δ-opiate receptor (DOR) and μ-opioid receptor (MOR) interact in a feedback manner to regulate cytolytic function with an unknown mechanism. Using RNK16 cells, a rat NK cell line, we show that MOR and DOR monomer and dimer proteins existed in these cells and that chronic treatment with a receptor antagonist reduced protein levels of the targeted receptor but increased levels of opposing receptor monomer and homodimer. The opposing receptor-enhancing effects of MOR and DOR antagonists were abolished following receptor gene knockdown by siRNA. Ethanol treatment increased MOR and DOR heterodimers while it decreased the cellular levels of MOR and DOR monomers and homodimers. The opioid receptor homodimerization was associated with an increased receptor binding, and heterodimerization was associated with a decreased receptor binding and the production of cytotoxic factors. Similarly, in vivo, opioid receptor dimerization, ligand binding of receptors, and cell function in immune cells were promoted by chronic treatment with an opiate antagonist but suppressed by chronic ethanol feeding. Additionally, a combined treatment of an MOR antagonist and a DOR agonist was able to reverse the immune suppressive effect of ethanol and reduce the growth and progression of mammary tumors in rats. These data identify a role of receptor dimerization in the mechanism of DOR and MOR feedback interaction in NK cells, and they further elucidate the potential for the use of a combined opioid antagonist and agonist therapy for the treatment of immune incompetence and cancer and alcohol-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16734-16747
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume287
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - May 11 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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