Lifting the lid on GPCRs: the role of extracellular loops.
ABSTRACT GPCRs exhibit a common architecture of seven transmembrane helices (TMs) linked by intracellular loops and extracellular loops (ECLs). Given their peripheral location to the site of G-protein interaction, it might be assumed that ECL segments merely link the important TMs within the helical bundle of the receptor. However, compelling evidence has emerged in recent years revealing a critical role for ECLs in many fundamental aspects of GPCR function, which supported by recent GPCR crystal structures has provided mechanistic insights. This review will present current understanding of the key roles of ECLs in ligand binding, activation and regulation of both family A and family B GPCRs.
Article: Molecular approximation between a residue in the amino-terminal region of calcitonin and the third extracellular loop of the class B G protein-coupled calcitonin receptor.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The calcitonin receptor is a member of the class B family of G protein-coupled receptors, which contains numerous potentially important drug targets. Delineation of themes for agonist binding and activation of these receptors will facilitate the rational design of receptor-active drugs. We reported previously that a photolabile residue within the carboxyl-terminal half (residue 26) and mid-region (residue 16) of calcitonin covalently label the extracellular amino-terminal domain of this receptor (Dong, M., Pinon, D. I., Cox, R. F., and Miller, L. J. (2004) J. Biol. Chem. 279, 1167-1175). Chimeric receptor studies support the importance of this region and suggest important contributions of extracellular loop domains. To examine whether other parts of the ligand may contact those loops, we developed another probe that has its photolabile site of labeling within the amino-terminal half in position 8 of the ligand. This probe was a full agonist (EC(50) = 563 +/- 67 pm), stimulating cAMP accumulation in receptor-bearing human embryonic kidney 293 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. It bound specifically and saturably (K(i) = 14.3 +/- 1.9 nm) and was able to efficiently label the calcitonin receptor. By purification, specific cleavage, and sequencing of labeled wild-type and mutant calcitonin receptors, the site of attachment was identified as residue Leu(368) within the third extracellular loop of the receptor, a domain distinct from that labeled by previous probes. These data are consistent with a common ligand binding mechanism for receptors in this important family.Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2004; 279(30):31177-82. · 4.77 Impact Factor
Article: The third extracellular loop of G-protein-coupled receptors: more than just a linker between two important transmembrane helices.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: GPCRs (G-protein-coupled receptors) are a large family of structurally related proteins, which mediate their effects by coupling with G-proteins. Despite responding to a range of very diverse stimuli, these receptors exhibit a conserved tertiary structure comprising a bundle of seven TM (transmembrane) helices linked by alternating ECLs (extracellular loops) and ICLs (intracellular loops). The hydrophobic environment formed by the cluster of TM helices is functionally important. For example, the 11-cis retinal chromophore of rhodopsin forms a protonated Schiff base linkage to a lysine in TM7, deep within the helical bundle, and small ligands, such as amine neurotransmitters and non-peptide analogues of peptide hormones, also bind within the corresponding region of their cognate receptors. In addition, activation of GPCRs involves relative movement of TM helices to present G-protein interaction sites across the intracellular face of the receptor. Consequently, it might be assumed that the ECLs of the GPCR are inert peptide linkers that merely connect important TM helices. Focusing on ECL3 (third ECL), it is becoming increasingly apparent that this extracellular domain can fulfil a range of important roles with respect to GPCR signalling, including agonist binding, ligand selectivity and receptor activation.Biochemical Society Transactions 01/2005; 32(Pt 6):1048-50. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are seven-transmembrane proteins that mediate most cellular responses to hormones and neurotransmitters. They are the largest group of therapeutic targets for a broad spectrum of diseases. Recent crystal structures of GPCRs have revealed structural conservation extending from the orthosteric ligand-binding site in the transmembrane core to the cytoplasmic G-protein-coupling domains. In contrast, the extracellular surface (ECS) of GPCRs is remarkably diverse and is therefore an ideal target for the discovery of subtype-selective drugs. However, little is known about the functional role of the ECS in receptor activation, or about conformational coupling of this surface to the native ligand-binding pocket. Here we use NMR spectroscopy to investigate ligand-specific conformational changes around a central structural feature in the ECS of the beta(2) adrenergic receptor: a salt bridge linking extracellular loops 2 and 3. Small-molecule drugs that bind within the transmembrane core and exhibit different efficacies towards G-protein activation (agonist, neutral antagonist and inverse agonist) also stabilize distinct conformations of the ECS. We thereby demonstrate conformational coupling between the ECS and the orthosteric binding site, showing that drugs targeting this diverse surface could function as allosteric modulators with high subtype selectivity. Moreover, these studies provide a new insight into the dynamic behaviour of GPCRs not addressable by static, inactive-state crystal structures.Nature 01/2010; 463(7277):108-12. · 36.28 Impact Factor