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This research was originally published in Journal of Biological Chemistry. Wang, J., Luo, J., Aryal, D. K., Wetsel, W. C., Nass, R., & Benovic, J. L. (2017). G protein-coupled receptor kinase-2 (GRK-2) regulates serotonin metabolism through the monoamine oxidase AMX-2 in caenorhabditis elegans. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2017; Vol. 292(14): 5943-5956. © the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) regulate many animal behaviors. GPCR signaling is mediated by agonist-promoted interactions of GPCRs with heterotrimeric G proteins, GPCR kinases (GRKs), and arrestins. To further elucidate the role of GRKs in regulating GPCR-mediated behaviors, we utilized the genetic model system Caenorhabditis elegans Our studies demonstrate that grk-2 loss-of-function strains are egg laying-defective and contain low levels of serotonin (5-HT) and high levels of the 5-HT metabolite 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA). The egg laying defect could be rescued by the expression of wild type but not by catalytically inactive grk-2 or by the selective expression of grk-2 in hermaphrodite-specific neurons. The addition of 5-HT or inhibition of 5-HT metabolism also rescued the egg laying defect. Furthermore, we demonstrate that AMX-2 is the primary monoamine oxidase that metabolizes 5-HT in C. elegans, and we also found that grk-2 loss-of-function strains have abnormally high levels of AMX-2 compared with wild-type nematodes. Interestingly, GRK-2 was also found to interact with and promote the phosphorylation of AMX-2. Additional studies reveal that 5-HIAA functions to inhibit egg laying in a manner dependent on the 5-HT receptor SER-1 and the G protein GOA-1. These results demonstrate that GRK-2 modulates 5-HT metabolism by regulating AMX-2 function and that 5-HIAA may function in the SER-1 signaling pathway.

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