A human gene encoding an orphan G-protein-coupled receptor named ACCA (adenylate cyclase constitutive activator) was isolated from a genomic library using as a probe a DNA fragment obtained by low-stringency PCR. Human ACCA (hACCA) is a protein of 330 amino acids that exhibits all the structural hallmarks of the main family of G-protein-coupled receptors. Expression of hACCA resulted in a dramatic stimulation of adenylate cyclase, similar in amplitude to that obtained with other Gs-coupled receptors fully activated by their respective ligands. This stimulation was obtained in a large variety of stable cell lines derived from various organs, and originating from different mammalian species. hACCA was found to be the human homologue of a recently reported mouse orphan receptor (GPCR21). The mouse ACCA (mACCA) was therefore recloned by PCR, and expression of mACCA in Cos-7 cells demonstrated that the mouse receptor behaved similarly as a constitutive activator of adenylate cyclase. It is not known presently whether the stimulation of adenylate cyclase is the result of a true constitutive activity of the receptor or, alternatively, is the consequence of a permanent stimulation by a ubiquitous ligand. The tissue distribution of mACCA was determined by RNase protection assay. Abundant transcripts were found in the brain, whereas lower amounts were detected in testis, ovary and eye. Various hypotheses concerning the constitutive activity of ACCA and their potential biological significance are discussed.

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