The µ opioid receptor gene, OPRM1, undergoes extensive alternative pre-mRNA splicing in rodents and humans, with dozens of alternatively spliced variants of the OPRM1 gene. The present studies establish a SYBR green quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay to more accurately quantify mouse OPRM1 splice variant mRNAs. Using these qPCR assays, we examined the expression of OPRM1 splice variant mRNAs in selected brain regions of four inbred mouse strains displaying differences in µ opioid-induced tolerance and physical dependence: C56BL/6J, 129P3/J, SJL/J and SWR/J. The complete mRNA expression profiles of the OPRM1 splice variants reveal marked differences of the variant mRNA expression among the brain regions in each mouse strain, suggesting region-specific alternative splicing of the OPRM1 gene. The expression of many variants was also strain-specific, implying a genetic influence on OPRM1 alternative splicing. The expression levels of a number of the variant mRNAs in certain brain regions appear to correlate with strain sensitivities to morphine analgesia, tolerance and physical dependence in four mouse strains.
Xu, J., Lu, Z., Xu, M., Rossi, G. C., Kest, B., Waxman, A. R. . . . Pan, Y. (2014). Differential Expressions of the Alternatively Spliced Variant mRNAs of the µ Opioid Receptor Gene, OPRM1, in Brain Regions of Four Inbred Mouse Strains. PLoS ONE, 9(10), e111267. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111267.