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Inactivation of opioid receptors limits the therapeutic efficacy of morphine-like analgesics and mediates the long duration of kappa opioid antidepressants by an uncharacterized, arrestin-independent mechanism. Here we use an iterative, discovery-based proteomic approach to show that following opioid administration, peroxiredoxin 6 (PRDX6) is recruited to the opioid receptor complex by c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) phosphorylation. PRDX6 activation generates reactive oxygen species via NADPH oxidase, reducing the palmitoylation of receptor-associated Gαi in a JNK-dependent manner. Selective inhibition of PRDX6 blocks Gαi depalmitoylation, prevents the enhanced receptor G-protein association and blocks acute analgesic tolerance to morphine and kappa opioid receptor inactivation in vivo. Opioid stimulation of JNK also inactivates dopamine D2 receptors in a PRDX6-dependent manner. We show that the loss of this lipid modification distorts the receptor G-protein association, thereby preventing agonist-induced guanine nucleotide exchange. These findings establish JNK-dependent PRDX6 recruitment and oxidation-induced Gαi depalmitoylation as an additional mechanism of Gαi-G-protein-coupled receptor inactivation.Opioid receptors are important modulators of nociceptive pain. Here the authors show that opioid receptor activation recruits peroxiredoxin 6 (PRDX6) to the receptor-Gαi complex by c-Jun N-terminal kinase, resulting in Gαi depalmitoylation and enhanced receptor-Gαi association.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Analgesics, Opioid, Animals, Benzeneacetamides, Drug Tolerance, Enkephalin, Ala(2)-MePhe(4)-Gly(5)-, Fentanyl, GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go, JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases, Mice, Morphine, NADPH Oxidases, Peroxiredoxin VI, Phosphorylation, Pyrrolidines, Reactive Oxygen Species, Receptors, Dopamine D2, Receptors, Opioid, Receptors, Opioid, kappa, Receptors, Opioid, mu