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Ming Zhu, Bingxin Xu, Meng Wang, Shangyun Liu, Yue Zhang and Chao Zhang

Melanocortin receptors (MCRs) and their accessory proteins (MRAPs) evolutionarily first appear in the genome of sea lamprey. The most ancient melanocortin system consists of only two melanocortin receptors (slMCa and slMCb) and one MRAP2 (slMRAP2) protein, but the physiological roles have not been fully explored in this primitive species. Here, we synthesize and characterize the pharmacological features of slMRAP2 protein on two slMCRs. Our results show that the slMRAP2 protein lacks the long carboxyl terminus; it directly interacts and decreases the surface expression but enhances the α-MSH-induced agonism of slMCa and slMCb. In comparison with higher organisms such as elephant shark and zebrafish, we also demonstrate the constantly evolving regulatory function of the carboxyl terminus of MRAP2 protein, the unique antiparallel topology of slMRAP2 dimer and the homo- and hetero-dimerization of two slMCRs. This study elucidates the presence and modulation of melanocortin receptor by the accessory protein of the agnathans for the first time, which provides a better insight of the melanocortin system in ancient species of chordates.

Open access

Chao Xu, Xiang-Fei Li, Hong-Yan Tian, Hua-Juan Shi, Ding-Dong Zhang, Kenneth Prudence Abasubong and Wen-Bin Liu

After a 12-week feeding trial, the glucose tolerance test was performed in Megalobrama amblycephala to evaluate the effects of metformin on the metabolic responses of glycolipids. Plasma insulin peaked at 2 h, then decreased to the basal value at 8–12 h post-injection. Plasma triglyceride levels and liver glycogen contents of the control group was decreased significantly during the first 2 and 1 h, respectively. Then, they returned to basal values at 12 h. During the whole sampling period, the high-carbohydrate groups had significantly higher levels of plasma metabolites and liver glycogen than those of the control group, and metformin supplementation enhanced these changes (except insulin levels). Glucose administration lowered the transcriptions of ampk α1, ampk α2, pepck, g6pase, fbpase, cpt IA and aco, the phosphorylation of Ampk α and the activities of the gluconeogenic enzymes during the first 2–4 h, while the opposite was true of glut 2, gs, gk, pk, accα and fas. High-carbohydrate diets significantly increased the transcriptions of ampk α1, ampk α2, glut 2, gs, gk, pk, accα and fas, the phosphorylation of Ampk α and the activities of the glycolytic enzymes during the whole sampling period, while the opposite was true for the remaining indicators. Furthermore, metformin significantly upregulated the aforementioned indicators (except accα and fas) and the transcriptions of cpt IA and aco. Overall, metformin benefits the glucose homeostasis of Megalobrama amblycephala fed high-carbohydrate diets through the activation of Ampk and the stimulation of glycolysis, glycogenesis and fatty acid oxidation, while depressing gluconeogenesis and lipogenesis.

Open access

Peng Fan, Chao-Xia Lu, Di Zhang, Kun-Qi Yang, Pei-Pei Lu, Ying Zhang, Xu Meng, Su-Fang Hao, Fang Luo, Ya-Xin Liu, Hui-Min Zhang, Lei Song, Jun Cai, Xue Zhang and Xian-Liang Zhou

Liddle syndrome (LS), a monogenetic autosomal dominant disorder, is mainly characterized by early-onset hypertension and hypokalemia. Clinically, misdiagnosis or missing diagnosis is common, since clinical phenotypes of LS are variable and nonspecific. We report a family with misdiagnosis of primary aldosteronism (PA), but identify as LS with a pathogenic frameshift mutation of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) β subunit. DNA samples were collected from a 32-year-old proband and 31 other relatives in the same family. A designed panel including 41 genes associated with monogenic hypertension was screened using next-generation sequencing. The best candidate disease-causing variants were verified by Sanger sequencing. Genetic analysis of the proband revealed a novel frameshift mutation c.1838delC (p.Pro613Glnfs*675) in exon 13 of SCNN1B. This heterozygous mutation involved the deletion of a cytosine from a string of three consecutive cytosines located at codons 612 to 613 and resulted in deletion of the crucial PY motif and elongation of the β-ENaC protein. The identical mutation was also found in 12 affected family members. Amiloride was effective in alleviating LS for patients. There were no SCNN1A or SCNN1G mutations in this family. Our study emphasizes the importance of considering LS in the differential diagnosis of early-onset hypertension. The identification of a novel frameshift mutation of SCNN1B enriches the genetic spectrum of LS and has allowed treatment of this affected family to prevent severe complications.