melatonin receptor subtype 1C, member of the class A family of seven-transmembrane G protein-coupled receptors
Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is a naturally occurring sleep-promoting chemical found in vertebrates, invertebrates, bacteria, fungi, and plants. In mammals, melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland and is involved in regulation of circadian rhythms. Its production peaks during the nighttime, and is suppressed by light. Melatonin is shown to be synthesized in other organs and cells of many vertebrates, including the Harderian gland, leukocytes, skin, and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which contains several hundred times more melatonin than the pineal gland and is involved in the regulation of GI motility, inflammation, and sensation. Melatonin exerts its pleiotropic physiological effects through specific membrane receptors, named MT1A, MT1B, and MT1C, which belong to the class A rhodopsin-like G-protein coupled receptor family. MT1A and MT1B subtypes are present in mammals, whereas MT1C subtype has been found in amphibians and birds. The melatonin receptors couple to G proteins of the G(i/o) class, leading to the inhibition of adenylate cyclase.