The TLQP-21 neuropeptide has been implicated in functions as diverse as lipolysis, neurodegeneration and metabolism, thus suggesting an important role in several human diseases. Three binding targets have been proposed for TLQP-21: C3aR1, gC1qR and HSPA8. The aim of this review is to critically evaluate the molecular identity of the TLQP-21 receptor and the proposed multi-receptor mechanism of action. Several studies confirm a critical role for C3aR1 in TLQP-21 biological activity and a largely conserved mode of binding, receptor activation and signaling with C3a, its first-identified endogenous ligand. Conversely, data supporting a role of gC1qR and HSPA8 in TLQP-21 activity remain limited, with no signal transduction pathways being described. Overall, C3aR1 is the only receptor for which a necessary and sufficient role in TLQP-21 activity has been confirmed thus far. This conclusion calls into question the validity of a multi-receptor mechanism of action for TLQP-21 and should inform future studies.
- G-protein-coupled receptor