Mexneurin is a novel precursor of peptides in the central nervous system of rodents

Maura E. Matus-Ortega, Philippe Leff Gelman, Juan C. Calva-Nieves, Anabel Flores-Zamora, Alberto Salazar-Juárez, Carlos Alejandro Torner-Aguilar, Gerardo Gamba, Paola De Los Heros, Bonnie Peng, John E. Pintar, Heinrich S. Gompf, Charles N. Allen, Benito Antón-Palma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Endomorphins (EMs) have been proposed as the endogenous ligand agonists of the μ-opioid receptor; however, no propeptide precursor protein for EMs has been identified. Here, to identify the presumed precursor of EMs, we designed an immunoscreening assay using specific affinity-purified rabbit antisera raised against synthetic EMs in a whole-mouse brain cDNA library. Following this approach, we identify a DNA sequence encoding a protein precursor, which we name proMexneurin, that contains three different peptide sequences: Mexneurin-1 (an EM-like peptide), Mexneurin-2, and Mexneurin-3, a peptide which appears to be unrelated to EMs. RT-PCR analysis and in situ hybridization reveal a widespread distribution of proMexneurin mRNA throughout the mouse brain. Both Mexneurin-1 and Mexneurin-3 peptides display biological activities in the mouse CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1627-1636
Number of pages10
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • endomorphin
  • opioid peptides
  • protein precursor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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