The A2A adenosine receptor is a dual-coding gene: a novel mechanism of gene usage and signal transduction [Cell Biology]

November 29th, 2013 by Lee, C.-f., Lai, H.-L., Lee, Y.-C., Chien, C.-L., Chern, Y.

The A2A adenosine receptor (A2AR) is a G protein-coupled receptor and a major target of caffeine. The A2AR gene encodes alternative transcripts that are initiated from at least two independent promoters. The different transcripts of the A2AR gene contain the same coding region and 3′-untranslated region and different 5′-untranslated regions that are highly conserved among species. We report here that in addition to the production of the A2AR protein, translation from an upstream, out-of-frame AUG of the rat A2AR gene produces a 134-amino acid protein (designated uORF5). An anti-uORF5 antibody recognized a protein of the predicted size of uORF5 in PC12 cells and rat brains. Upregulation of A2AR transcripts by hypoxia led to increased levels of both the A2AR and uORF5 proteins. Moreover, stimulation of A2AR increased the level of the uORF5 protein via post-transcriptional regulation. Expression of the uORF5 protein suppressed the AP1-mediated transcription promoted by nerve growth factor, and modulated the expression of several proteins that were implicated in the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway. Taken together, our results show that the rat A2AR gene encodes two distinct proteins (A2AR and uORF5) in an A2AR-dependent manner. Our study reveals a new example of the complexity of the mammalian genome and provides novel insights into the function of A2AR.