Kappa opioid receptor signaling in the brain: Circuitry and implications for treatment.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) both in coding and non-coding regions govern gene functions prompting differential vulnerability to diseases, heterogeneous response to pharmaceutical regimes and environmental anomalies. These genetic variations, SNPs, may alter an individual׳s susceptibility for alcohol dependence by remodeling DNA-protein interaction patterns in prodynorphin (PDYN) and the κ-opioid receptor (OPRK1) genes. In order to elaborate the underlying molecular mechanism behind these susceptibility differences we used bioinformatics tools to retrieve differential DNA-protein interactions at PDYN and OPRK1 SNPs significantly associated with alcohol dependence. Our results show allele-specific DNA-protein interactions depicting allele-specific mechanisms implicated in differential regulation of gene expression. Several transcription factors, for instance, VDR, RXR-alpha, NFYA, CTF family, USF-1, USF2, ER, AR and predominantly SP family show an allele-specific binding affinity with PDYN gene; likewise, GATA, TBP, AP-1, USF-2, C/EBPbeta, Cart-1 and ER interact with OPRK1 SNPs on intron 2 in an allele-specific manner. In a nutshell, transition of a single nucleotide may modify differential DNA-protein interactions at OPRK1 and PDYN׳s SNPs, significantly associated with pathology that may lead to altered individual vulnerability for alcohol dependence.