Neurokinin-2 receptor negatively modulates substance P responses by forming complex with Neurokinin-1 receptor

Lan Phuong Nguyen, Minyeong Cho, Thai Uy Nguyen, Hee Kyung Park, Huong Thi Nguyen, Kateryna Mykhailova, Sunghoon Hurh, Hong Rae Kim, Jae Young Seong, Cheol Soon Lee, Byung Joo Ham, Jong Ik Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Tachykinins and their cognate receptors, neurokinin receptors (NKs) including NK1, NK2, and NK3 play vital roles in regulating various physiological processes including neurotransmission, nociception, inflammation, smooth muscle contractility, and stimulation of endocrine and exocrine gland secretion. Their abnormal expression has been reported to be associated with neurological disorders, inflammation, and cancer. Even though NKs are expressed in the same cells with their expression being inversely correlated in some conditions, there is no direct evidence to prove their interaction. Understanding the functional crosstalk between NKs in mediated downstream signaling and cellular responses may elucidate the roles of each receptor in pathophysiology. Results: In this study, we showed that NKs were co-expressed in some cells. However, different from NK3, which only forms homodimerization, we demonstrated a direct interaction between NK1 and NK2 at the protein level using co-immunoprecipitation and NanoBiT-based protein interaction analysis. Through heterodimerization, NK2 downregulated substance P-stimulated NK1 signals, such as intracellular Ca2+ mobilization and ERK phosphorylation, by enhancing β-arrestin recruitment, even at the ligand concentration that could not activate NK2 itself or in the presence of NK1 specific antagonist, aprepitant. In A549 cells with receptors deleted and reconstituted, NK2 exerted a negative effect on substance P/NK1-mediated cell migration. Conclusion: Our study has provided the first direct evidence of an interaction between NK1 and NK2, which highlights the functional relevance of their heterodimerization in cellular responses. Our findings demonstrated that through dimerization, NK2 exerts negative effects on downstream signaling and cellular response mediated by NK1. Moreover, this study has significant implications for understanding the complexity of GPCR dimerization and its effect on downstream signaling and cellular responses. Given the important roles of tachykinins and NKs in pathophysiology, these insights may provide clues for developing NKs-targeting drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number212
JournalCell and Bioscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Calcium signaling
  • Cell migration
  • ERK phosphorylation
  • GPCR dimerization
  • Negative modulation
  • Neurokinin receptors
  • β-arrestin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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