Regulators of G-protein signaling (RGS proteins) comprise a large family of signal transduction molecules that modulate G-protein-coupled-receptor (GPCR) function. Among the RGS proteins expressed in the brain, RGS9-2 is very abundant in the striatum, a brain region involved in movement, motivation, mood and addiction. This protein negatively modulates signal transduction thus playing a key part in striatal function and resultant behavioral responses. In particular, there is evidence of important interactions with μ-opioid- and dopamine D2-receptor signaling pathways. Several studies indicate that manipulations of RGS9-2 levels in the striatum might greatly affect pharmacological responses. These findings indicate that treatment strategies targeting RGS9-2 levels or activity might be used to enhance responses to drugs acting at GPCRs and/or prevent undesired drug actions.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are membrane proteins that serve as very important links through which cellular signal transduction mechanisms are activated. Many vital physiological events such as sensory perception, immune defense, cell communication, chemotaxis, and neuro-transmission are mediated by GPCRs. Not surprisingly, GPCRs are major targets for drug development today. Most modeling studies in the GPCR field have focused upon the creation of a model of a single GPCR (ie, a GPCR monomer) based upon the crystal structure of the Class A GPCR, rhodopsin. However, the emerging concept of GPCR dimerization has challenged our notions of the monomeric GPCR as functional unit. Recent work has shown not only that many GPCRs exist as homo- and heterodimers but also that GPCR oligomeric assembly may have important functional roles. This review focuses first on methodology for the creation of monomeric GPCR models. Special emphasis is given to the identification of localized regions where the structure of a GPCR may diverge from that of bovine rhodopsin. The review then focuses on GPCR dimers and oligomers and the bioinformatics methods available for identifying homo- and heterodimer interfaces.
GPCR modeling; GPCR dimer; GPCR oligomer
A G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) functions not only as a monomer or homodimer but also as a heterodimer with another GPCR. GPCR heterodimerization results in the modulation of the molecular functions of the GPCR protomer, including ligand binding affinity, signal transduction, and internalization. There has been a growing body of reports on heterodimerization of multiple GPCRs expressed in the reproductive system and the resultant functional modulation, suggesting that GPCR heterodimerization is closely associated with reproduction including the secretion of hormones and the growth and maturation of follicles and oocytes. Moreover, studies on heterodimerization among paralogs of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) receptors of a protochordate, Ciona intestinalis, verified the species-specific regulation of the functions of GPCRs via multiple GnRH receptor pairs. These findings indicate that GPCR heterodimerization is also involved in creating biodiversity. In this review, we provide basic and current knowledge regarding GPCR heterodimers and their functional modulation, and explore the biological significance of GPCR heterodimerization.
GPCR; heterodimer; reproduction; diversity hormones
G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling is mediated by protein-protein interactions at multiple levels. The characterization of the corresponding protein complexes is therefore paramount to the basic understanding of GPCR-mediated signal transduction. The number of documented interactions involving GPCRs is rapidly growing, and appreciating the functional significance of these complexes is clearly the next challenge. New experimental approaches including protein complementation assays (PCAs) have recently been used to examine the composition, plasma membrane targeting, and desensitization of protein complexes involved in GPCR signaling. These methods also hold promise for better understanding of drug-induced effects on GPCR interactions. This review focuses on the application of fluorescent PCAs for the study of GPCR signaling. Potential applications of PCAs in high-content screens are also presented. Non-fluorescent PCA techniques as well as combined assays for the detection of ternary and quaternary protein complexes are briefly discussed.
The G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) family is comprised of seven transmembrane domain proteins and play important roles in nerve transmission, locomotion, proliferation and development, sensory perception, metabolism, and neuromodulation. GPCR research has been targeted by drug developers as a consequence of the wide variety of critical physiological functions regulated by this protein family. Neuropeptide GPCRs are the least characterized of the GPCR family as genetic systems to characterize their functions have lagged behind GPCR gene discovery. Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans are genetic model organisms that have proved useful in characterizing neuropeptide GPCRs. The strength of a genetic approach leads to an appreciation of the behavioral plasticity that can result from subtle alterations in GPCRs or regulatory proteins in the pathways that GPCRs control. Many of these invertebrate neuropeptides, GPCRs, and signaling pathway components serve as models for mammalian counterparts as they have conserved sequences and function. This review provides an overview of the methods to match neuropeptides to their cognate receptor and a state of the art account of neuropeptide GPCRs that have been characterized in D. melanogaster and C. elegans and the behaviors that have been uncovered through genetic manipulation.
invertebrate neuropeptides; G-protein coupled receptor; insects; nematodes; Caenorhabditis elegans; Drosophila melanogaster
Understanding how discreet tissues and neuronal circuits function in relation to the whole organism to regulate physiological processes and behaviors is a fundamental goal of modern biological science. Powerful and important new tools in this discovery process are modified G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) known as ‘Receptors Activated Solely by Synthetic Ligands (RASSLs),’ and ‘Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by a Designer Drug (DREADDs).’ Collectively, these are GPCRs modified either through rational design or directed molecular evolution, that do not respond to native ligand, but functionally respond only to synthetic ligands. Importantly, the utility of these receptors is not limited to examination of the role of GPCR-coupled effector signal transduction pathways. Due to the near ubiquitous expression of GPCRs throughout an organism, this technology, combined with whole animal transgenics to selectively target expression, has the ability to regulate activity of discreet tissues and neuronal circuits through effector pathway modulation to study function and behavior throughout the organism. Advantages over other systems currently used to modify in vivo function include the ability to rapidly, selectively and reversibly manipulate defined signal transduction pathways both in short term and long term studies, and no need for specialized equipment due to convenient systemic treatment with activating ligand.
G-protein coupled receptors; Receptors Activated Solely by Synthetic Ligands; Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by a Designer Drug; signal transduction; muscarinic receptor; opioid receptor; serotonin receptor; transgenic
G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) are integral membrane proteins that respond to environmental signals and initiate signal transduction pathways activating cellular processes. Rhodopsin is a GPCR found in rod cells in retina where it functions as a photopigment. Its molecular structure is known from cryo-electron microscopic and X-ray crystallographic studies, and this has reshaped many structure/function questions important in vision science. In addition, this first GPCR structure has provided a structural template for studies of other GPCRs, including many known drug targets. After presenting an overview of the major structural elements of rhodopsin, recent literature covering the use of the rhodopsin structure in analyzing other GPCRs will be summarized. Use of the rhodopsin structural model to understand the structure and function of other GPCRs provides strong evidence validating the structural model.
transmembrane protein; signal transduction; homology models; vision; phototransduction
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent the largest known superfamily of membrane proteins extending throughout the Metazoa. There exists ample motivation to elucidate the functional properties of GPCRs given their role in signal transduction and their prominence as drug targets. In many target organisms, these efforts are hampered by the unreliable nature of heterologous receptor expression platforms. We validate and describe an alternative loss-of-function approach for ascertaining the ligand and G protein coupling properties of GPCRs in their native cell membrane environment. Our efforts are focused on the phylum Platyhelminthes, given the heavy health burden exacted by pathogenic flatworms, as well as the role of free-living flatworms as model organisms for the study of developmental biology. RNA interference (RNAi) was used in conjunction with a biochemical endpoint assay to monitor cAMP modulation in response to the translational suppression of individual receptors. As proof of principle, this approach was used to confirm the neuropeptide GYIRFamide as the cognate ligand for the planarian neuropeptide receptor GtNPR-1, while revealing its endogenous coupling to Gαi/o. The method was then extended to deorphanize a novel Gαs-coupled planarian serotonin receptor, DtSER-1. A bioinformatics protocol guided the selection of receptor candidates mediating 5-HT-evoked responses. These results provide functional data on a neurotransmitter central to flatworm biology, while establishing the great potential of an RNAi-based deorphanization protocol. Future work can help optimize and adapt this protocol for higher-throughput platforms as well as other phyla.
Many marketed therapeutic agents have been developed to modulate the function of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The regulators of G-protein signaling (RGS proteins) are also being examined as potential drug targets. To facilitate clinical and pharmacological research, we have developed a novel integrated biological database called RINGdb to provide comprehensive and organized RGS protein and GPCR information.
RINGdb contains information on mutations, tissue distributions, protein-protein interactions, diseases/disorders and other features, which has been automatically collected from the Internet and manually extracted from the literature. In addition, RINGdb offers various user-friendly query functions to answer different questions about RGS proteins and GPCRs such as their possible contribution to disease processes, the putative direct or indirect relationship between RGS proteins and GPCRs. RINGdb also integrates organized database cross-references to allow users direct access to detailed information. The database is now available at .
RINGdb is the only integrated database on the Internet to provide comprehensive RGS protein and GPCR information. This knowledgebase will be useful for clinical research, drug discovery and GPCR signaling pathway research.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute a superfamily of cell-surface receptors which share a common topology of seven transmembrane domains and modulate a variety of cell functions through coupling to heterotrimeric G proteins by responding to a vast array of stimuli. The magnitude of cellular response elicited by a given signal is dictated by the level of GPCR expression at the plasma membrane, which is the balance of elaborately regulated endocytic and exocytic trafficking. This review will cover recent advances in understanding the molecular mechanism underlying anterograde transport of the newly synthesized GPCRs from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) through the Golgi to the plasma membrane. We will focus on recently identified motifs involved in GPCR exit from the ER and the Golgi, GPCR folding in the ER and the rescue of misfolded receptors from within, GPCR-interacting proteins that modulate receptor cell-surface targeting, pathways that mediate GPCR traffic, and the functional role of export in controlling GPCR signaling.
Recent solved structures of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) provide insights into variation of the structure and molecular mechanisms of GPCR activation. In this review we provide evidence for the emerging paradigm of domain coupling facilitated by intrinsic disorder of the ligand-free state in GPCRs. The structure-function and dynamic studies suggest that ligand-bound GPCRs exhibit multiple active conformations in initiating cellular signals. Long-range intra-molecular and inter-molecular interactions at distant sites on the same receptor are crucial factors that modulate signaling function of GPCRs. Positive or negative coupling between the extracellular, the transmembrane and the intracellular domains facilitates cooperativity of activating “switches” as requirements for the functional plasticity of GPCRs. Awareness that allosteric ligands robustly affect domain coupling provides a novel mechanistic basis for rational drug development, small molecule antagonism and GPCR regulation by classical, as well as non-classical modes.
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are membrane proteins that convert extracellular information into intra-cellular signals. They are involved in many biological processes and therefore represent powerful targets to modulate physiological and pathological states. Recent studies have demonstrated that GPCR activity is regulated by several mechanisms. Among these, protein–protein interactions (and in particular interactions with other receptors leading to heteromerization) has been shown to have an important role in modulating GPCR function. This has expanded their repertoire of signaling and added a new level of regulation to their physiological roles. Emerging studies provide evidence for tissue-specific and disease-specific receptor heteromerization. This suggests that heteromers represent novel drug targets for the identification of selective compounds with potentially fewer side-effects.
The superfamily of the seven transmembrane G-protein-coupled receptors (7TM/GPCRs) is the largest family of membrane-associated receptors. GPCRs are involved in the pathophysiology of numerous human diseases, and they constitute an estimated 30–40% of all drug targets. During the last two decades, GPCR oligomerization has been extensively studied using methods like bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) and today, receptor–receptor interactions within the GPCR superfamily is a well-established phenomenon. Evidence of the impact of GPCR oligomerization on, e.g., ligand binding, receptor expression, and signal transduction indicates the physiological and pharmacological importance of these receptor interactions. In contrast to the larger and more thoroughly studied GPCR subfamilies A and C, the B1 subfamily is small and comprises only 15 members, including, e.g., the secretin receptor, the glucagon receptor, and the receptors for parathyroid hormone (PTHR1 and PTHR2). The dysregulation of several family B1 receptors is involved in diseases, such as diabetes, chronic inflammation, and osteoporosis which underlines the pathophysiological importance of this GPCR subfamily. In spite of this, investigation of family B1 receptor oligomerization and especially its pharmacological importance is still at an early stage. Even though GPCR oligomerization is a well-established phenomenon, there is a need for more investigations providing a direct link between these interactions and receptor functionality in family B1 GPCRs. One example of the functional effects of GPCR oligomerization is the facilitation of allosterism including cooperativity in ligand binding to GPCRs. Here, we review the currently available data on family B1 GPCR homo- and heteromerization, mainly based on BRET investigations. Furthermore, we cover the functional influence of oligomerization on ligand binding as well as the link between oligomerization and binding cooperativity.
GPCRs; family B1; oligomerization; BRET; binding cooperativity
The heptahelical G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) belong to the largest family of cell surface signaling receptors encoded in the human genome. GPCRs signal to diverse extracellular stimuli and control a vast number of physiological responses, making this receptor class the target of nearly half the drugs currently in use. In addition to rapid desensitization, receptor trafficking is crucial for the temporal and spatial control of GPCR signaling. Sorting signals present in the intracytosolic domains of GPCRs regulate trafficking through the endosomal-lysosomal system. GPCR internalization is mediated by serine and threonine phosphorylation and arrestin binding. Short, linear peptide sequences including tyrosine- and dileucine-based motifs, and PDZ ligands that are recognized by distinct endocytic adaptor proteins also mediate internalization and endosomal sorting of GPCRs. We present new data from bioinformatic searches that reveal the presence of these types of sorting signals in the cytoplasmic tails of many known GPCRs. Several recent studies also indicate that the covalent modification of GPCRs with ubiquitin serves as a signal for internalization and lysosomal sorting, expanding the diversity of mechanisms that control trafficking of mammalian GPCRs.
GPCR; arrestin; ubiquitin; trafficking; clathrin; PDZ; bioinformatic
Recent studies indicate that the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling machinery can serve as a direct target of reactive oxygen species, including nitric oxide (NO) and S-nitrosothiols (RSNOs). To gain a broader view into the way that receptor-dependent G protein activation – an early step in signal transduction – might be affected by RSNOs, we have studied several receptors coupling to the Gi family of G proteins in their native cellular environment using the powerful functional approach of [35S]GTPγS autoradiography with brain cryostat sections in combination with classical G protein activation assays.
We demonstrate that RSNOs, like S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) and S-nitrosocysteine (CysNO), can modulate GPCR signaling via reversible, thiol-sensitive mechanisms probably involving S-nitrosylation. RSNOs are capable of very targeted regulation, as they potentiate the signaling of some receptors (exemplified by the M2/M4 muscarinic cholinergic receptors), inhibit others (P2Y12 purinergic, LPA1lysophosphatidic acid, and cannabinoid CB1 receptors), but may only marginally affect signaling of others, such as adenosine A1, μ-opioid, and opiate related receptors. Amplification of M2/M4 muscarinic responses is explained by an accelerated rate of guanine nucleotide exchange, as well as an increased number of high-affinity [35S]GTPγS binding sites available for the agonist-activated receptor. GSNO amplified human M4 receptor signaling also under heterologous expression in CHO cells, but the effect diminished with increasing constitutive receptor activity. RSNOs markedly inhibited P2Y12 receptor signaling in native tissues (rat brain and human platelets), but failed to affect human P2Y12 receptor signaling under heterologous expression in CHO cells, indicating that the native cellular signaling partners, rather than the P2Y12 receptor protein, act as a molecular target for this action.
These in vitro studies show for the first time in a broader general context that RSNOs are capable of modulating GPCR signaling in a reversible and highly receptor-specific manner. Given that the enzymatic machinery responsible for endogenous NO production is located in close proximity with the GPCR signaling complex, especially with that for several receptors whose signaling is shown here to be modulated by exogenous RSNOs, our data suggest that GPCR signaling in vivo is likely to be subject to substantial, and highly receptor-specific modulation by NO-derived RSNOs.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) have critical roles in various physiological and pathophysiological processes, and more than 40% of marketed drugs target GPCRs. Although the canonical downstream target of an agonist-activated GPCR is a G protein heterotrimer; there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that other signaling molecules interact, directly or indirectly, with GPCRs. However, due to the low abundance in the intact cell system and poor solubility of GPCRs, identification of these GPCR-interacting molecules remains challenging. Here, we establish a strategy to overcome these difficulties by using high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles. We used the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR), a GPCR involved in regulating cardiovascular physiology, as a model system. We reconstituted purified β2AR in HDL particles, to mimic the plasma membrane environment, and used the reconstituted receptor as bait to pull-down binding partners from rat heart cytosol. A total of 293 proteins were identified in the full agonist-activated β2AR pull-down, 242 proteins in the inverse agonist-activated β2AR pull-down, and 210 proteins were commonly identified in both pull-downs. A small subset of the β2AR-interacting proteins isolated was confirmed by Western blot; three known β2AR-interacting proteins (Gsα, NHERF-2, and Grb2) and 3 newly identified known β2AR-interacting proteins (AMPKα, acetyl-CoA carboxylase, and UBC-13). Profiling of the identified proteins showed a clear bias toward intracellular signal transduction pathways, which is consistent with the role of β2AR as a cell signaling molecule. This study suggests that HDL particle-reconstituted GPCRs can provide an effective platform method for the identification of GPCR binding partners coupled with a mass spectrometry-based proteomic analysis.
The mammalian dim-light photoreceptor rhodopsin is a prototypic G protein coupled receptor (GPCR), interacting with the G protein, transducin, rhodopsin kinase, and arrestin. All of these proteins interact with rhodopsin at its cytoplasmic surface. Structural and modeling studies have provided in-depth descriptions of the respective interfaces. Overlap and thus competition for binding surfaces is a major regulatory mechanism for signal processing. Recently, it was found that the same surface is also targeted by small molecules. These ligands can directly interfere with the binding and activation of the proteins of the signal transduction cascade, but they can also allosterically modulate the retinal ligand binding pocket. Because the pocket that is targeted contains residues that are highly conserved across Class A GPCRs, these findings imply that it may be possible to target multiple GPCRs with the same ligand(s). This is desirable for example in complex diseases such as cancer where multiple GPCRs participate in the disease networks.
G protein coupled receptors; allostery; conformational changes; docking; protein-protein interactions
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) mediate many important physiological functions and are considered as one of the most successful therapeutic targets for a broad spectrum of diseases. The design and implementation of high-throughput GPCR assays that allow the cost-effective screening of large compound libraries to identify novel drug candidates are critical in early drug discovery. Early functional GPCR assays depend primarily on the measurement of G-protein-mediated 2nd messenger generation. Taking advantage of the continuously deepening understanding of GPCR signal transduction, many G-protein-independent pathways are utilized to detect the activity of GPCRs, and may provide additional information on functional selectivity of candidate compounds. With the combination of automated imaging systems and label-free detection systems, such assays are now suitable for high-throughput screening (HTS). In this review, we summarize the most widely used GPCR assays and recent advances in HTS technologies for GPCR drug discovery.
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs); high-throughput screening; high-content screening; functional assay; G-protein-dependent assay; G-protein-independent assay; label-free assay; functional selectivity
The modulation of transmembrane signaling by G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitutes the single most important therapeutic target in medicine. Drugs acting on GPCRs have traditionally been classified as agonists, partial agonists, or antagonists based on a two-state model of receptor function embodied in the ternary complex model. Over the past decade, however, many lines of investigation have shown that GPCR signaling exhibits greater diversity and “texture” than previously appreciated. Signal diversity arises from numerous factors, among which are the ability of receptors to adopt multiple “active” states with different effector-coupling profiles; the formation of receptor dimers that exhibit unique pharmacology, signaling, and trafficking; the dissociation of receptor “activation” from desensitization and internalization; and the discovery that non-G protein effectors mediate some aspects of GPCR signaling. At the same time, clustering of GPCRs with their downstream effectors in membrane microdomains and interactions between receptors and a plethora of multidomain scaffolding proteins and accessory/chaperone molecules confer signal preorganization, efficiency, and specificity. In this context, the concept of agonist-selective trafficking of receptor signaling, which recognizes that a bound ligand may select between a menu of active receptor conformations and induce only a subset of the possible response profile, presents the opportunity to develop drugs that change the quality as well as the quantity of efficacy. As a more comprehensive understanding of the complexity of GPCR signaling is developed, the rational design of ligands possessing increased specific efficacy and attenuated side effects may become the standard mode of drug development.
The critical involvement of GPCRs (G-protein-coupled receptors) in nearly all physiological processes, and the presence of these receptors at the interface between the extracellular and the intracellular milieu, has positioned these receptors as pivotal therapeutic targets. Although a large number of drugs targeting GPCRs are currently available, significant efforts have been directed towards understanding receptor properties, with the goal of identifying and designing improved receptor ligands. Recent advances in GPCR pharmacology have demonstrated that different ligands binding to the same receptor can activate discrete sets of downstream effectors, a phenomenon known as `ligand-directed signal specificity', which is currently being explored for drug development due to its potential therapeutic advantage. Emerging studies suggest that GPCR responses can also be modulated by contextual factors, such as interactions with other GPCRs. Association between different GPCR types leads to the formation of complexes, or GPCR heteromers, with distinct and unique signalling properties. Some of these heteromers activate discrete sets of signalling effectors upon activation by the same ligand, a phenomenon termed `heteromer-directed signalling specificity'. This has been shown to be involved in the physiological role of receptors and, in some cases, in disease-specific dysregulation of a receptor effect. Hence targeting GPCR heteromers constitutes an emerging strategy to select receptor-specific responses and is likely to be useful in achieving specific beneficial therapeutic effects.
adrenergic receptor; β-arrestin; G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); heteromerization; mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK); signal specificity
Dimerization or oligomerization of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are known to modulate receptor functions in terms of ontogeny, ligand-oriented regulation, pharmacological diversity, signal transduction, and internalization. Class B GPCRs are receptors to a family of hormones including secretin, growth hormone-releasing hormone, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide and parathyroid hormone, among others. The functional implications of receptor dimerization have extensively been studied in class A GPCRs, while less is known regarding its function in class B GPCRs. This article reviews receptor oligomerization in terms of the early evidence and current understanding particularly of class B GPCRs.
GPCR; class B; secretin receptor; oligomerization; BRET
G proteins mediate the action of G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), a major target of current pharmaceuticals and a major target of interest in future drug development. Most pharmaceutical interest has been in the development of selective GPCR agonists and antagonists that activate or inhibit specific GPCRs. Some recent thinking has focused on the idea that some pathologies are the result of the actions of an array of GPCRs suggesting that targeting single receptors may have limited efficacy. Thus, targeting pathways common to multiple GPCRs that control critical pathways involved in disease has potential therapeutic relevance. G protein βγ subunits released from some GPCRs upon receptor activation regulate a variety of downstream pathways to control various aspects of mammalian physiology. There is evidence from cell-based and animal models that excess Gβγ signaling can be detrimental and blocking Gβγ signaling has salutary effects in a number of pathological models. Gβγ regulates downstream pathways through modulation of enzymes that produce cellular second messengers or through regulation of ion channels by direct protein-protein interactions. Thus, blocking Gβγ functions requires development of small molecule agents that disrupt Gβγ protein interactions with downstream partners. Here we discuss evidence that small molecule targeting Gβγ could be of therapeutic value. The concept of disruption of protein-protein interactions by targeting a “hot spot” on Gβγ is delineated and the biochemical and virtual screening strategies for identification of small molecules that selectively target Gβγ functions are outlined. Evaluation of the effectiveness of virtual screening indicates that computational screening enhanced identification of true Gβγ binding molecules. However, further refinement of the approach could significantly improve the yield of Gβγ binding molecules from this screen that could result in multiple candidate leads for future drug development.
G protein βγ subunits; GRK2ct; computational screening; G protein-coupled receptor; small molecule targeting; protein-protein interactions; G protein signaling
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) play key roles in cellular signal transduction and many are pharmacologically important targets for drug discovery. GPCRs can be reconstituted in planar supported lipid bilayers (PSLBs) with retention of activity, which has led to development of GPCR-based biosensors and biochips. However, PSLBs composed of natural lipids lack the high stability desired for many technological applications. One strategy is to use synthetic lipid monomers that can be polymerized to form robust bilayers. A key question is how lipid polymerization affects GPCR structure and activity. Here we have investigated the photochemical activity of bovine rhodopsin (Rho), a model GPCR, reconstituted into PSLBs composed of lipids having one or two polymerizable dienoyl moieties located in different regions of the acyl chains. Plasmon waveguide resonance spectroscopy was used to compare the degree of Rho photoactivation in fluid and poly(lipid) PSLBs. The position of the dienoyl moiety was found to have a significant effect: polymerization near the glycerol backbone significantly attenuates Rho activity whereas polymerization near the acyl chain termini does not. Differences in cross-link density near the acyl chain termini also do not affect Rho activity. In unpolymerized PSLBs, an equimolar mixture of phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine (PC) lipids enhances activity relative to pure PC; however after polymerization, the enhancement is eliminated which is attributed to stabilization of the membrane lamellar phase. These results should provide guidance for the design of robust lipid bilayers functionalized with transmembrane proteins for use in membrane-based biochips and biosensors.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) transduce a wide variety of extracellular signals to within the cell and therefore have a key role in regulating cell activity and physiological function. GPCR malfunction is responsible for a wide range of diseases including cancer, diabetes and hyperthyroidism and a large proportion of drugs on the market target these receptors. The three dimensional structure of GPCRs is important for elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying these diseases and for performing structure-based drug design. Although structural data are restricted to only a handful of GPCRs, homology models can be used as a proxy for those receptors not having crystal structures. However, many researchers working on GPCRs are not experienced homology modellers and are therefore unable to benefit from the information that can be gleaned from such three-dimensional models. Here, we present a comprehensive database called the GPCR-SSFE, which provides initial homology models of the transmembrane helices for a large variety of family A GPCRs.
Extending on our previous theoretical work, we have developed an automated pipeline for GPCR homology modelling and applied it to a large set of family A GPCR sequences. Our pipeline is a fragment-based approach that exploits available family A crystal structures. The GPCR-SSFE database stores the template predictions, sequence alignments, identified sequence and structure motifs and homology models for 5025 family A GPCRs. Users are able to browse the GPCR dataset according to their pharmacological classification or search for results using a UniProt entry name. It is also possible for a user to submit a GPCR sequence that is not contained in the database for analysis and homology model building. The models can be viewed using a Jmol applet and are also available for download along with the alignments.
The data provided by GPCR-SSFE are useful for investigating general and detailed sequence-structure-function relationships of GPCRs, performing structure-based drug design and for better understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying disease-associated mutations in GPCRs. The effectiveness of our multiple template and fragment approach is demonstrated by the accuracy of our predicted homology models compared to recently published crystal structures.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are known to modulate intracellular effectors involved in cardiac function. We recently reported homocysteine (Hcy)-induced ERK-phosphorylation was suppressed by pertussis toxin (PTX), which suggested the involvement of GPCRs in initiating signal transduction. An activated GPCR undergoes down regulation via a known mechanism involving ERK, GRK2, β-arrestin1: ERK activity increases; GRK2 activity increases; β-arrestin1 is degraded. We hypothesized that Hcy treatment leads to GPCR activation and down regulation. Microvascular endothelial cells were treated with Hcy. Expression of phospho-ERK1 and phospho-GRK2 was determined using Western blot, standardized to ERK1, GRK2, and β-actin. Hcy was shown to dephosphorylate GRK2, thereby enhancing the activity. The results provided further evidence that Hcy acts as an agonist to activate GPCRs, followed by their down regulation. Hcy was also shown to decrease the content of the following G proteins and other proteins: β-arrestin1, Gαq/11, Gα12/13, Gi/o.
G protein; GPCR; GRK2; ERK1; β-Arrestin1; c-Src; Desensitization; Heart failure; Hcy; Homocysteine