Prostanoid receptor heterogeneity through alternative mRNA splicing

Kristen L. Pierce, John W. Regan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Prostaglandin (PG) and thromboxane (TX) receptors are G-protein coupled receptors that mediate the physiological actions of the five principal prostanoid metabolites: PGD2, PGE2, PGF2α, PGI2 (prostacyclin) and TXA2. Five major subdivisions of the prostanoid receptor family have been defined pharmacologically which correspond to each of the metabolites as follows: DP, EP, FP IP and TP. The EP receptors have been further classified pharmacologically into the EP1, EP2, EP3 and EP4 subtypes. Molecular biological studies have resulted in the cloning of cDNA's encoding all of these prostanoid receptors. In addition, the cloning of these receptors has revealed further heterogeneity through the use of alternative mRNA splicing. Specifically, mRNA splice variants have been identified for the EP1, EP3, FP and TP receptors. Interestingly, except for the EP1 receptors, the mechanisms giving rise to these receptor isoforms involves the use of splice sites located in the cytoplasmic carboxyl termini of these receptors. Thus, the eight human EP3 isoforms that have been identified are otherwise identical except for their carboxyl termini. Similarly, the optional use of a potential splice site encoding the carboxyl terminus gives rise to each of the two FP and TP receptor isoforms. Because the carboxyl termini of G- protein coupled receptors are generally implicated in interactions with G- proteins, it is not surprising that these receptor isoforms differ mainly with respect to their activation of second messenger pathways and not in their pharmacological characteristics. Differences also exist with respect to their levels of constitutive activity (e.g., in the absence of agonist) and in their desensitization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1479-1483
Number of pages5
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number17-18
StatePublished - Mar 27 1998


  • G-protein coupled receptors
  • Molecular biology
  • Prostaglandins
  • Splice variants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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