In the majority of tissues, CRF1 is coupled to a stimulatory G-protein that activates the adenylyl cyclase signaling pathway, and ligand-binding triggers an increase in cAMP levels. However, the signal can be transmitted along multiple signal transduction cascades, according to the structure of the receptor and the region of its expression. Alternate signaling pathways activated by CRF1 include PKC and MAPK. This wide variety of cascades suggests that CRF1 mediates tissue-specific responses to CRF and CRF-agonists.
CRF1 receptors in mice mediate ethanol enhancement of GABAergic synaptic transmission.
Corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) evolved ~500 million years ago in an organism that subsequently gave rise to both chordates and arthropods. The binding site for this was single CRH like receptor. In vertebrates this gene was duplicated leading to the extant CRH1 and CRH2 forms. Additionally four paralogous ligands developed including CRH, urotensin-1/urocortin, urocortin II and urocortin III.
CRF1 triggers cells to release hormones that are linked to stress and anxiety [original reference missing]. Hence CRF1 receptor antagonists are being actively studied as possible treatments for depression and anxiety.
Variations in CRHR1 are associated with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn.
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