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1.  H2O2 Inhibits ABA-Signaling Protein Phosphatase HAB1 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113643.
Due to its ability to be rapidly generated and propagated over long distances, H2O2 is an important second messenger for biotic and abiotic stress signaling in plants. In response to low water potential and high salt concentrations sensed in the roots of plants, the stress hormone abscisic acid (ABA) activates NADPH oxidase to generate H2O2, which is propagated in guard cells in leaves to induce stomatal closure and prevent water loss from transpiration. Using a reconstituted system, we demonstrate that H2O2 reversibly prevents the protein phosphatase HAB1, a key component of the core ABA-signaling pathway, from inhibiting its main target in guard cells, SnRK2.6/OST1 kinase. We have identified HAB1 C186 and C274 as H2O2-sensitive thiols and demonstrate that their oxidation inhibits both HAB1 catalytic activity and its ability to physically associate with SnRK2.6 by formation of intermolecular dimers.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113643
PMCID: PMC4252038  PMID: 25460914
2.  PGC-1 Coactivator Activity Is Required for Murine Erythropoiesis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(11):1956-1965.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) and PGC-1β have been shown to be intimately involved in the transcriptional regulation of cellular energy metabolism as well as other biological processes, but both coactivator proteins are expressed in many other tissues and organs in which their function is, in essence, unexplored. Here, we found that both PGC-1 proteins are abundantly expressed in maturing erythroid cells. PGC-1α and PGC-1β compound null mutant (Pgc-1c) animals express less β-like globin mRNAs throughout development; consequently, neonatal Pgc-1c mice exhibit growth retardation and profound anemia. Flow cytometry shows that the number of mature erythrocytes is markedly reduced in neonatal Pgc-1c pups, indicating that erythropoiesis is severely compromised. Furthermore, hematoxylin and eosin staining revealed necrotic cell death and cell loss in Pgc-1c livers and spleen. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies revealed that both PGC-1α and -1β, as well as two nuclear receptors, TR2 and TR4, coordinately bind to the various globin gene promoters. In addition, PGC-1α and -1β can interact with TR4 to potentiate transcriptional activation. These data provide new insights into our understanding of globin gene regulation and raise the interesting possibility that the PGC-1 coactivators can interact with TR4 to elicit differential stage-specific effects on globin gene transcription.
doi:10.1128/MCB.00247-14
PMCID: PMC4019057  PMID: 24662048
3.  The Potent Cdc7-Dbf4 (DDK) Kinase Inhibitor XL413 Has Limited Activity in Many Cancer Cell Lines and Discovery of Potential New DDK Inhibitor Scaffolds 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113300.
Cdc7-Dbf4 kinase or DDK (Dbf4-dependent kinase) is required to initiate DNA replication by phosphorylating and activating the replicative Mcm2-7 DNA helicase. DDK is overexpressed in many tumor cells and is an emerging chemotherapeutic target since DDK inhibition causes apoptosis of diverse cancer cell types but not of normal cells. PHA-767491 and XL413 are among a number of potent DDK inhibitors with low nanomolar IC50 values against the purified kinase. Although XL413 is highly selective for DDK, its activity has not been extensively characterized on cell lines. We measured anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects of XL413 on a panel of tumor cell lines compared to PHA-767491, whose activity is well characterized. Both compounds were effective biochemical DDK inhibitors but surprisingly, their activities in cell lines were highly divergent. Unlike PHA-767491, XL413 had significant anti-proliferative activity against only one of the ten cell lines tested. Since XL413 did not effectively inhibit DDK in multiple cell lines, this compound likely has limited bioavailability. To identify potential leads for additional DDK inhibitors, we also tested the cross-reactivity of ∼400 known kinase inhibitors against DDK using a DDK thermal stability shift assay (TSA). We identified 11 compounds that significantly stabilized DDK. Several inhibited DDK with comparable potency to PHA-767491, including Chk1 and PKR kinase inhibitors, but had divergent chemical scaffolds from known DDK inhibitors. Taken together, these data show that several well-known kinase inhibitors cross-react with DDK and also highlight the opportunity to design additional specific, biologically active DDK inhibitors for use as chemotherapeutic agents.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113300
PMCID: PMC4239038  PMID: 25412417
4.  Structure and mechanism for recognition of peptide hormones by Class B G-protein-coupled receptors 
Acta pharmacologica Sinica  2012;33(3):300-311.
Class B G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are receptors for peptide hormones that include glucagon, parathyroid hormone, and calcitonin. These receptors are involved in a wide spectrum of physiological activities, from metabolic regulation and stress control to development and maintenance of the skeletal system. As such, they are important drug targets for the treatment of diabetes, osteoporosis, and stress related disorders. Class B GPCRs are organized into two modular domains: an extracellular domain (ECD) and a helical bundle that contains seven transmembrane helices (TM domain). The ECD is responsible for the high affinity and specificity of hormone binding, and the TM domain is required for receptor activation and signal coupling to downstream G-proteins. Although the structure of the full-length receptor remains unknown, the ECD structures have been well characterized for a number of Class B GPCRs, revealing a common fold for ligand recognition. This review summarizes the general structural principles that guide hormone binding by Class B ECDs and their implications in the design of peptide hormone analogs for therapeutic purposes.
doi:10.1038/aps.2011.170
PMCID: PMC3690506  PMID: 22266723
G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); parathyroid hormone; glucagon; calcitonin; crystal structure
5.  Structure and activation of rhodopsin 
Acta pharmacologica Sinica  2012;33(3):291-299.
Rhodopsin is the first G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) to have its three-dimensional structure solved by X-ray crystallography. The crystal structure of rhodopsin has revealed the molecular mechanism of photoreception and signal transduction in the visual system. Although several other GPCR crystal structures have been reported over the past few years, the rhodopsin structure remains an important model for understanding the structural and functional characteristics of other GPCRs. This review summarizes the structural features, the photoactivation, and the G protein signal transduction of rhodopsin.
doi:10.1038/aps.2011.171
PMCID: PMC3677203  PMID: 22266727
G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); rhodopsin; crystal structure; photoactivation; transducin
6.  Catalytic mechanism and kinase interactions of ABA-signaling PP2C phosphatases 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2012;7(5):581-588.
Abscisic acid (ABA) is an essential hormone that controls plant growth, development and responses to abiotic stresses. ABA signaling is mediated by type 2C protein phosphatases (PP2Cs), including HAB1 and ABI2, which inhibit stress-activated SnRK2 kinases and whose activity is regulated by ABA and ABA receptors. Based on biochemical data and our previously determined crystal structures of ABI2 and the SnRK2.6–HAB1 complex, we present the catalytic mechanism of PP2C and provide new insight into PP2C–SnRK2 interactions and possible roles of other SnRK2 kinases in ABA signaling.
doi:10.4161/psb.19694
PMCID: PMC3419024  PMID: 22516825
PP2C; SnRK; PYR/PYL/RCAR; abscisic acid; X-ray crystal structure
7.  Structural Basis for Molecular Recognition at Serotonin Receptors 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;340(6132):610-614.
Serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) regulates a wide spectrum of human physiology through the 5-HT receptor family. We report the crystal structures of the human 5-HT1B G protein-coupled receptor bound to the agonist anti-migraine medications ergotamine and dihydroergotamine. The structures reveal similar binding modes for these ligands, which occupy the orthosteric pocket and an extended binding pocket close to the extracellular loops. The orthosteric pocket is formed by residues conserved in the 5-HT receptor family, clarifying the family-wide agonist activity of 5-HT. Compared to the accompanying structure of the 5-HT2B receptor, the 5-HT1B receptor displays a 3 angstrom outward shift at the extracellular end of helix V, resulting in a more open extended pocket that explains subtype selectivity. Together with docking and mutagenesis studies, these structures provide a comprehensive structural basis for understanding receptor-ligand interactions and designing subtype-selective serotonergic drugs.
doi:10.1126/science.1232807
PMCID: PMC3644373  PMID: 23519210
8.  Structural Features for Functional Selectivity at Serotonin Receptors 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;340(6132):615-619.
Drugs active at G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) can differentially modulate either canonical or non-canonical signaling pathways via a phenomenon known as functional selectivity or biased signaling. We report biochemical studies that show that the hallucinogen lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), its precursor ergotamine (ERG) and related ergolines display strong functional selectivity for β-arrestin signaling at the 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptor 5-HT2B, while being relatively unbiased at the 5-HT1B receptor. To investigate the structural basis for biased signaling, we determined the crystal structure of the human 5-HT2B receptor bound to ERG, and compared it with the 5-HT1B/ERG structure. Given the relatively poor understanding of GPCR structure-function to date, insight into different GPCR signaling pathways are important to better understand both adverse and favorable therapeutic activities.
doi:10.1126/science.1232808
PMCID: PMC3644390  PMID: 23519215
9.  Thirsty plants and beyond: Structural mechanisms of abscisic acid perception and signaling 
Summary
Abscisic acid is a plant hormone with important functions in stress protection and physiology. Recently, the PYR/PYL/RCAR family of intracellular ABA receptors was identified. These receptors directly link ABA perception to a canonical ABA signaling pathway, in which ABA-bound receptors bind and inhibit type 2C phosphatases. High resolution crystal structures of members of this family have been solved in all relevant states: as apo receptors, bound to ABA, and as receptor-ABA-phosphatase complexes. Together, these structures provide a detailed gate-latch-lock mechanism of ABA recognition, receptor-PP2C interaction, and inhibition of the PP2C phosphatase activity and provide a basis for the design of synthetic ABA agonists for stress protection of crop plants.
doi:10.1016/j.sbi.2010.09.007
PMCID: PMC2994985  PMID: 20951573
10.  Protein Conformation Ensembles Monitored by HDX Reveal a Structural Rationale for Abscisic Acid Signaling Protein Affinities and Activities 
Summary
Plants regulate growth and respond to environmental stress through abscisic acid (ABA) regulated pathways, and as such these pathways are of primary interest for biological and agricultural research. The ABA response is first perceived by the PYR/PYL/RCAR class of START protein receptors. These ABA activated receptors disrupt phosphatase inhibition of Snf1-related kinases (SnRKs) enabling kinase signaling. Here, insights into the structural mechanism of proteins in the ABA signaling pathway (the ABA receptor PYL2, HAB1 phosphatase, and two kinases, SnRK2.3 and 2.6) are discerned through hydrogen/deuterium exchange (HDX) mass spectrometry. HDX on the phosphatase in the presence of binding partners provides evidence for receptor-specific conformations involving the Trp385 ‘lock’ that is necessary for signaling. Furthermore, kinase activity is linked to a more stable closed conformation. These solution-based studies complement the static crystal structures and provide a more detailed understanding of the ABA signaling pathway.
doi:10.1016/j.str.2012.12.001
PMCID: PMC3570687  PMID: 23290725
hydrogen deuterium exchange; mass spectrometry; protein conformation; abscisic acid; signaling pathways; kinase; phosphatase; phosphorylation; receptor; plant protein
11.  Lrp5 and Lrp6 in Development and Disease 
Low-density lipoprotein-related receptors 5 and 6 (LRP5/6) are highly homologous proteins with key functions in canonical Wnt signaling. Alterations in the genes encoding these receptors or their interacting proteins are linked to human diseases and as such they have been a major focus of drug development efforts to treat several human conditions including osteoporosis, cancer, and metabolic disease. Here, we discuss the links between alterations in Lrp5/6 and disease, proteins that interact with them, and insights gained into their function from mouse models. We also highlight current drug development related to Lrp5/6 as well as how the recent elucidation of their crystal structures may allow for further refinement of our ability to target them for therapeutic benefit.
doi:10.1016/j.tem.2012.10.003
PMCID: PMC3592934  PMID: 23245947
Lrp5/6; Wnt/β-catenin; Development; Crystal Structure; Disease
12.  The Crystal Structure of the Orphan Nuclear Receptor NR2E3/PNR Ligand Binding Domain Reveals a Dimeric Auto-Repressed Conformation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74359.
Photoreceptor-specific nuclear receptor (PNR, NR2E3) is a key transcriptional regulator of human photoreceptor differentiation and maintenance. Mutations in the NR2E3-encoding gene cause various retinal degenerations, including Enhanced S-cone syndrome, retinitis pigmentosa, and Goldman-Favre disease. Although physiological ligands have not been identified, it is believed that binding of small molecule agonists, receptor desumoylation, and receptor heterodimerization may switch NR2E3 from a transcriptional repressor to an activator. While these features make NR2E3 a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of retinal diseases, there has been a clear lack of structural information for the receptor. Here, we report the crystal structure of the apo NR2E3 ligand binding domain (LBD) at 2.8 Å resolution. Apo NR2E3 functions as transcriptional repressor in cells and the structure of its LBD is in a dimeric auto-repressed conformation. In this conformation, the putative ligand binding pocket is filled with bulky hydrophobic residues and the activation-function-2 (AF2) helix occupies the canonical cofactor binding site. Mutations designed to disrupt either the AF2/cofactor-binding site interface or the dimer interface compromised the transcriptional repressor activity of this receptor. Together, these results reveal several conserved structural features shared by related orphan nuclear receptors, suggest that most disease-causing mutations affect the receptor’s structural integrity, and allowed us to model a putative active conformation that can accommodate small ligands in its pocket.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074359
PMCID: PMC3771917  PMID: 24069298
13.  Couple Dynamics: PPARγ and Its Ligand Partners 
Ligand-regulated transcriptional activity is the most important property of nuclear receptors, including PPARγ. In this issue of Structure, Hughes et al. determined how the dynamic conformations of ligands and the receptor contribute to the degree of ligand-dependent activation of PPARγ, which provide further insights into design of PPARγ-based anti-diabetic drugs.
doi:10.1016/j.str.2011.12.002
PMCID: PMC3756547  PMID: 22244751
14.  An ABA-mimicking ligand that reduces water loss and promotes drought resistance in plants 
Cell Research  2013;23(8):1043-1054.
Abscisic acid (ABA) is the most important hormone for plants to resist drought and other abiotic stresses. ABA binds directly to the PYR/PYL family of ABA receptors, resulting in inhibition of type 2C phosphatases (PP2C) and activation of downstream ABA signaling. It is envisioned that intervention of ABA signaling by small molecules could help plants to overcome abiotic stresses such as drought, cold and soil salinity. However, chemical instability and rapid catabolism by plant enzymes limit the practical application of ABA itself. Here we report the identification of a small molecule ABA mimic (AM1) that acts as a potent activator of multiple members of the family of ABA receptors. In Arabidopsis, AM1 activates a gene network that is highly similar to that induced by ABA. Treatments with AM1 inhibit seed germination, prevent leaf water loss, and promote drought resistance. We solved the crystal structure of AM1 in complex with the PYL2 ABA receptor and the HAB1 PP2C, which revealed that AM1 mediates a gate-latch-lock interacting network, a structural feature that is conserved in the ABA-bound receptor/PP2C complex. Together, these results demonstrate that a single small molecule ABA mimic can activate multiple ABA receptors and protect plants from water loss and drought stress. Moreover, the AM1 complex crystal structure provides a structural basis for designing the next generation of ABA-mimicking small molecules.
doi:10.1038/cr.2013.95
PMCID: PMC3731570  PMID: 23835477
abscisic acid; plant hormone; drought resistance; crystal structure; ABA-mimicking ligand
15.  Identification of a Lysosomal Pathway That Modulates Glucocorticoid Signaling and the Inflammatory Response 
Science signaling  2011;4(180):ra44.
The antimalaria drug chloroquine has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent for treating systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. We report that chloroquine promoted the transrepression of proinflammatory cytokines by the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). In a mouse collagen-induced arthritis model, chloroquine enhanced the therapeutic effects of glucocorticoid treatment. By inhibiting lysosome function, chloroquine synergistically activated glucocorticoid signaling. Lysosomal inhibition by either bafilomycin A1 (an inhibitor of the vacuolar adenosine triphosphatase) or knockdown of transcription factor EB (TFEB, a master activator of lysosomal biogenesis) mimicked the effects of chloroquine. The abundance of the GR, as well as that of the androgen receptor and estrogen receptor, correlated with changes in lysosomal biogenesis. Thus, we showed that glucocorticoid signaling is regulated by lysosomes, which provides a mechanistic basis for treating inflammation and autoimmune diseases with a combination of glucocorticoids and lysosomal inhibitors.
doi:10.1126/scisignal.2001450
PMCID: PMC3684214  PMID: 21730326
16.  A novel prenylflavone restricts breast cancer cell growth through AhR-mediated destabilization of ERα protein 
Carcinogenesis  2012;33(5):1089-1097.
There is concern that ingestion of dietary phytoestrogens may increase risk of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα)-positive breast cancer. The prenylflavone icaritin, a phytoestrogen consumed in East Asian societies for its perceived beneficial effects on bone health, stimulated the growth of breast cancer (MCF-7) cells at low concentrations. Although acting like an estrogenic ligand, icaritin exerted an unexpected suppressive effect on estrogen-stimulated breast cancer cell proliferation and gene expression at higher concentrations. Like estradiol, icaritin could dose-dependently destabilize ERα protein. However, destabilization of ERα by the estradiol/icaritin combination was profound and greater than that observed for either compound alone. Microarray gene expression analyses implicated aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) signaling for this suppressive effect of icaritin. Indeed, icaritin was an AhR agonist that competitively reduced specific binding of a potent AhR agonist and increased expression of the AhR-regulated gene CYP1A1. When AhR was knocked down by small interfering RNA, the suppressive effect of icaritin on estradiol-stimulated breast cancer cell growth and gene expression was abolished, and ERα protein stability was partially restored. Similarly in an athymic nude mouse model, icaritin restricted estradiol-stimulated breast cancer xenograft growth and strongly reduced ERα protein levels. Overall, our data support the feasibility for the development of dual agonists like icaritin, which are estrogenic but yet, through activating AhR-signaling, can destabilize ERα protein to restrict ERα-positive breast cancer cell growth.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgs110
PMCID: PMC3334513  PMID: 22345291
17.  Ligand structural motifs can decouple glucocorticoid receptor transcriptional activation from target promoter occupancy 
Glucocorticoid (GC) induction of the tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT) gene by the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is a classic model used to investigate steroid-regulated gene expression. Classic studies analyzing GC-induction of the TAT gene demonstrated that despite having very high affinity for GR, some steroids cannot induce maximal TAT enzyme activity, but the molecular basis for this phenomenon is unknown. Here, we used RT-PCR and chromatin immunoprecipitation to determine TAT mRNA accumulation and GR recruitment to the TAT promoter (TAT-GRE) in rat hepatoma cells induced by seven GR ligands: dexamethasone (DEX), cortisol (CRT), corticosterone (CCS), 11-deoxycorticosterone (DOC), aldosterone (ALD), progesterone (PRG) and 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17P). As expected, DEX, CRT, CCS and ALD all induced both TAT mRNA and GR recruitment to the TAT-GRE, while PRG and 17P did not. However, while DOC could not induce significant TAT mRNA, it did induce robust GR-occupancy of the TAT-GRE. DOC also induced recruitment of the histone acetyltransferase p300 to the TAT-GRE as efficiently as DEX. These DOC-induced effects recapitulated at another GR target gene (sulfonyltransferase 1A1), and DOC also failed to promote the multiple changes in gene expression required for glucocorticoid-dependent 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation. Structural simulations and protease sensitivity assays suggest that DOC and DEX induce different conformations in GR. Thus, although steroids that bind GR with high affinity can induce GR and p300 occupancy of target promoters, they may not induce a conformation of GR capable of activating transcription.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.03.084
PMCID: PMC3340612  PMID: 22465009
glucocorticoid receptor; anti-inflammatory; steroids; chromatin immunoprecipitation; gene expression
19.  Molecular Mimicry Regulates ABA Signaling by SnRK2 Kinases and PP2C Phosphatases 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2011;335(6064):85-88.
Abscisic acid (ABA) is an essential hormone for plants to survive environmental stresses. At the center of the ABA signaling network is a subfamily of type 2C protein phosphatases (PP2Cs), which form exclusive interactions with ABA receptors and subfamily 2 Snfl-related kinase (SnRK2s). Here, we report a SnRK2-PP2C complex structure, which reveals marked similarity in PP2C recognition by SnRK2 and ABA receptors. In the complex, the kinase activation loop docks into the active site of PP2C, while the conserved ABA-sensing tryptophan of PP2C inserts into the kinase catalytic cleft, thus mimicking receptor-PP2C interactions. These structural results provide a simple mechanism that directly couples ABA binding to SnRK2 kinase activation and highlight a new paradigm of kinase-phosphatase regulation through mutual packing of their catalytic sites.
doi:10.1126/science.1215106
PMCID: PMC3584687  PMID: 22116026
20.  Identification of Small Molecule Inhibitors of PTPσ through an Integrative Virtual and Biochemical Approach 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50217.
PTPσ is a dual-domain receptor type protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) with physiologically important functions which render this enzyme an attractive biological target. Specifically, loss of PTPσ has been shown to elicit a number of cellular phenotypes including enhanced nerve regeneration following spinal cord injury (SCI), chemoresistance in cultured cancer cells, and hyperactive autophagy, a process critical to cell survival and the clearance of pathological aggregates in neurodegenerative diseases. Owing to these functions, modulation of PTPσ may provide therapeutic value in a variety of contexts. Furthermore, a small molecule inhibitor would provide utility in discerning the cellular functions and substrates of PTPσ. To develop such molecules, we combined in silico modeling with in vitro phosphatase assays to identify compounds which effectively inhibit the enzymatic activity of PTPσ. Importantly, we observed that PTPσ inhibition was frequently mediated by oxidative species generated by compounds in solution, and we further optimized screening conditions to eliminate this effect. We identified a compound that inhibits PTPσ with an IC50 of 10 µM in a manner that is primarily oxidation-independent. This compound favorably binds the D1 active site of PTPσ in silico, suggesting it functions as a competitive inhibitor. This compound will serve as a scaffold structure for future studies designed to build selectivity for PTPσ over related PTPs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050217
PMCID: PMC3502291  PMID: 23185579
21.  Abscisic Acid Signaling: Thermal Stability Shift Assays as Tool to Analyze Hormone Perception and Signal Transduction 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47857.
Abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant hormone that plays important roles in growth and development. ABA is also the central regulator to protect plants against abiotic stresses, such as drought, high salinity, and adverse temperatures, and ABA signaling is therefore a promising biotechnological target for the generation of crops with increased stress resistance. Recently, a core signal transduction pathway has been established, in which ABA receptors, type 2C protein phosphatases, and AMPK-related protein kinases control the regulation of transcription factors, ion channels, and enzymes. Here we use a simple protein thermal stability shift assay to independently validate key aspects of this pathway and to demonstrate the usefulness of this technique to detect and characterize very weak (Kd ≥50 µM) interactions between receptors and physiological and synthetic agonists, to determine and analyze protein-protein interactions, and to screen small molecule inhibitors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047857
PMCID: PMC3480437  PMID: 23112859
22.  Modulation of β-Catenin Signaling by Glucagon Receptor Activation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33676.
The glucagon receptor (GCGR) is a member of the class B G protein–coupled receptor family. Activation of GCGR by glucagon leads to increased glucose production by the liver. Thus, glucagon is a key component of glucose homeostasis by counteracting the effect of insulin. In this report, we found that in addition to activation of the classic cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway, activation of GCGR also induced β-catenin stabilization and activated β-catenin–mediated transcription. Activation of β-catenin signaling was PKA-dependent, consistent with previous reports on the parathyroid hormone receptor type 1 (PTH1R) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1R) receptors. Since low-density-lipoprotein receptor–related protein 5 (Lrp5) is an essential co-receptor required for Wnt protein mediated β-catenin signaling, we examined the role of Lrp5 in glucagon-induced β-catenin signaling. Cotransfection with Lrp5 enhanced the glucagon-induced β-catenin stabilization and TCF promoter–mediated transcription. Inhibiting Lrp5/6 function using Dickkopf-1(DKK1) or by expression of the Lrp5 extracellular domain blocked glucagon-induced β-catenin signaling. Furthermore, we showed that Lrp5 physically interacted with GCGR by immunoprecipitation and bioluminescence resonance energy transfer assays. Together, these results reveal an unexpected crosstalk between glucagon and β-catenin signaling, and may help to explain the metabolic phenotypes of Lrp5/6 mutations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033676
PMCID: PMC3306284  PMID: 22438981
23.  Structure and activation of rhodopsin 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2012;33(3):291-299.
Rhodopsin is the first G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) with its three-dimensional structure solved by X-ray crystallography. The crystal structure of rhodopsin has revealed the molecular mechanism of photoreception and signal transduction in the visual system. Although several other GPCR crystal structures have been reported over the past few years, the rhodopsin structure remains an important model for understanding the structural and functional characteristics of other GPCRs. This review summarizes the structural features, the photoactivation, and the G protein signal transduction of rhodopsin.
doi:10.1038/aps.2011.171
PMCID: PMC3677203  PMID: 22266727
G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); rhodopsin; crystal structure; photoactivation; transducin
24.  Structure and mechanism for recognition of peptide hormones by Class B G-protein-coupled receptors 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2012;33(3):300-311.
Class B G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are receptors for peptide hormones that include glucagon, parathyroid hormone, and calcitonin. These receptors are involved in a wide spectrum of physiological activities, from metabolic regulation and stress control to development and maintenance of the skeletal system. As such, they are important drug targets for the treatment of diabetes, osteoporosis, and stress related disorders. Class B GPCRs are organized into two modular domains: an extracellular domain (ECD) and a helical bundle that contains seven transmembrane helices (TM domain). The ECD is responsible for the high affinity and specificity of hormone binding, and the TM domain is required for receptor activation and signal coupling to downstream G-proteins. Although the structure of the full-length receptor remains unknown, the ECD structures have been well characterized for a number of Class B GPCRs, revealing a common fold for ligand recognition. This review summarizes the general structural principles that guide hormone binding by Class B ECDs and their implications in the design of peptide hormone analogs for therapeutic purposes.
doi:10.1038/aps.2011.170
PMCID: PMC3690506  PMID: 22266723
G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); parathyroid hormone; glucagon; calcitonin; crystal structure
25.  A new era for GPCR research: structures, biology and drug discovery 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2012;33(3):289-290.
doi:10.1038/aps.2012.16
PMCID: PMC4085653  PMID: 22388110

Results 1-25 (41)