Published on Fri Sep 24 2021

Differential barcoding of opioid receptors trafficking.

Jade Degrandmaison, Olivier Grisé, Jean-Luc Parent, Louis Gendron

Over the past several years, studies have highlighted the δ-opioid receptor (DOPr) as a promising therapeutic target for chronic pain management. While exhibiting milder undesired effects than most currently prescribed opioids, its specific agonists elicit effective analgesic responses in numerous animal models of chronic pain, including inflammatory, neuropathic, diabetic, and cancer-related pain. However, as compared with the extensively studied μ-opioid receptor, the molecular mechanisms governing its trafficking remain elusive. Recent advances have denoted several significant particularities in the regulation of DOPr intracellular routing, setting it apart from the other members of the opioid receptor family. Although they share high homology, each opioid receptor subtype displays specific amino acid patterns potentially involved in the regulation of its trafficking. These precise motifs or "barcodes" are selectively recognized by regulatory proteins and therefore dictate several aspects of the itinerary of a receptor, including its anterograde transport, internalization, recycling, and degradation. With a specific focus on the regulation of DOPr trafficking, this review will discuss previously reported, as well as potential novel trafficking barcodes within the opioid and nociceptin/orphanin FQ opioid peptide receptors, and their impact in determining distinct interactomes and physiological responses.