Kappa-type opioid receptor

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The Kappa-type opioid receptor (KOR) is a 380 aminoacid peptide coded by the OPRK1 gene at 8q11.2. There is evidence for heterodimerization of the two fully functional opioid receptors, kappa and delta. This results in a new receptor that has distinct ligand binding and functional properties. It inhibits neurotransmitter release by decreasing calcium ion currents and increasing potassium ion conductance in its G-protein coupled receptor 1 membrane complex with interactions with the proteins, SLC9A3R1 and GABARAPL1. Receptor for dynorphins important in visceral chemical pain and roles in arousal and regulation of autonomic and neuroendocrine functions.


KOR is a member of the pertussis toxin-sensitive heterotrimeric G-protein coupled receptor family with a 7 transmembrane domain and belongs to the rhodopsin subfamily. It is suspected that 3 different subtypes of KOR (k1, k2 and k3) exist, based on ligand receptor binding studies, but isoforms are presently unclear.


OPRK1 is particularly expressed in axons of the:

It is also expressed in the nerve terminals of muscles, joints and viscera. Human epidermal keratinocytes , dermal fibroblasts and mononuclear cells also express OPRK1.

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