The GRAFS classification system of G-protein coupled receptors in comparative perspective.
ABSTRACT The super-family of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) is one of the largest groups of proteins in vertebrate species. The receptors are very diverse in structure and function but they still share some common structural elements. Our recent phylogenetic studies indicate that most human GPCRs can be grouped into five main families named; Glutamate, Rhodopsin, Adhesion, Frizzled/Taste2, and Secretin, forming the GRAFS classification system. The rhodopsin family is the largest and forms four main groups termed alpha, beta, gamma, and delta with 13 sub-branches. We have evidence that the main families of the GRAFS classification system arose prior to the split of nematodes from the lineage leading to chordates. The major part of all GPCRs in mammalian, fish, tunicate, insect, and nematode species belong to the GRAFS families. The evolution of GPCRs in different phylogenetic branches are, however, very variable as some of the branches are specific for certain lineages such as vertebrates or mammals, while others are found in a much larger variety of species. In this review, we provide an insight in several studies that are being performed to elucidate the evolutionary history of the GPCR family.
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ABSTRACT: Guanine protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute a eukaryotic transmembrane protein family and function as "molecular switches" in the second messenger cascades and are found in all organisms between yeast and humans. They form the single, biggest drug-target family due to their versatility of action and their role in several physiological functions, being active players in detecting the presence of light, a variety of smells and tastes, amino acids, nucleotides, lipids, chemicals etc. in the environment of the cell. Comparative genomic studies on model organisms provide information on target receptors in humans and their function. The Japanese teleost Fugu has been identified as one of the smallest vertebrate genomes and a compact model to study the human genome, owing to the great similarity in its gene repertoire with that of human and other vertebrates. Thus the characterization of the GPCRs of Fugu would provide insights to the evolution of the vertebrate genome. We classified the GPCRs in the Fugu genome and our analysis of its 316 membrane-bound receptors, available on the public databases as well as from literature, detected 298 GPCRs that were grouped into five main families according to the GRAFS classification system (namely, Glutamate, Rhodopsin, Adhesion, Frizzled and Secretin). We also identified 18 other GPCRs that could not be grouped under the GRAFS family and hence were classified as 'Other 7TM' receptors. On comparison of the GPCR information from the Fugu genome with those in the human and chicken genomes, we detected 96.83% (306/316) and 96.51% (305/316) orthology in GPCRs among the Fugu-human genomes and Fugu-chicken genomes, respectively. This study reveals the position of pisces in vertebrate evolution from the GPCR perspective. Fugu can act as a reference model for the human genome for other protein families as well, going by the high orthology observed for GPCRs between Fugu and human. The evolutionary comparison of GPCR sequences between key vertebrate classes of mammals, birds and fish will help in identifying key functional residues and motifs so as to fill in the blanks in the evolution of GPCRs in vertebrates.BMC Bioinformatics 01/2011; 12 Suppl 1:S3. · 2.75 Impact Factor
Article: The repertoire of G protein-coupled receptors in the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni and the model organism Schmidtea mediterranea.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute one of the largest groupings of eukaryotic proteins, and represent a particularly lucrative set of pharmaceutical targets. They play an important role in eukaryotic signal transduction and physiology, mediating cellular responses to a diverse range of extracellular stimuli. The phylum Platyhelminthes is of considerable medical and biological importance, housing major pathogens as well as established model organisms. The recent availability of genomic data for the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni and the model planarian Schmidtea mediterranea paves the way for the first comprehensive effort to identify and analyze GPCRs in this important phylum. Application of a novel transmembrane-oriented approach to receptor mining led to the discovery of 117 S. mansoni GPCRs, representing all of the major families; 105 Rhodopsin, 2 Glutamate, 3 Adhesion, 2 Secretin and 5 Frizzled. Similarly, 418 Rhodopsin, 9 Glutamate, 21 Adhesion, 1 Secretin and 11 Frizzled S. mediterranea receptors were identified. Among these, we report the identification of novel receptor groupings, including a large and highly-diverged Platyhelminth-specific Rhodopsin subfamily, a planarian-specific Adhesion-like family, and atypical Glutamate-like receptors. Phylogenetic analysis was carried out following extensive gene curation. Support vector machines (SVMs) were trained and used for ligand-based classification of full-length Rhodopsin GPCRs, complementing phylogenetic and homology-based classification. Genome-wide investigation of GPCRs in two platyhelminth genomes reveals an extensive and complex receptor signaling repertoire with many unique features. This work provides important sequence and functional leads for understanding basic flatworm receptor biology, and sheds light on a lucrative set of anthelmintic drug targets.BMC Genomics 12/2011; 12:596. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), also called 7TM receptors, form a huge superfamily of membrane proteins that, upon activation by extracellular agonists, pass the signal to the cell interior. Ligands can bind either to extracellular N-terminus and loops (e.g. glutamate receptors) or to the binding site within transmembrane helices (Rhodopsin-like family). They are all activated by agonists although a spontaneous auto-activation of an empty receptor can also be observed. Biochemical and crystallographic methods together with molecular dynamics simulations and other theoretical techniques provided models of the receptor activation based on the action of so-called "molecular switches" buried in the receptor structure. They are changed by agonists but also by inverse agonists evoking an ensemble of activation states leading toward different activation pathways. Switches discovered so far include the ionic lock switch, the 3-7 lock switch, the tyrosine toggle switch linked with the nPxxy motif in TM7, and the transmission switch. The latter one was proposed instead of the tryptophan rotamer toggle switch because no change of the rotamer was observed in structures of activated receptors. The global toggle switch suggested earlier consisting of a vertical rigid motion of TM6, seems also to be implausible based on the recent crystal structures of GPCRs with agonists. Theoretical and experimental methods (crystallography, NMR, specific spectroscopic methods like FRET/BRET but also single-molecule-force-spectroscopy) are currently used to study the effect of ligands on the receptor structure, location of stable structural segments/domains of GPCRs, and to answer the still open question on how ligands are binding: either via ensemble of conformational receptor states or rather via induced fit mechanisms. On the other hand the structural investigations of homoand heterodimers and higher oligomers revealed the mechanism of allosteric signal transmission and receptor activation that could lead to design highly effective and selective allosteric or ago-allosteric drugs.Current Medicinal Chemistry 02/2012; 19(8):1090-109. · 4.86 Impact Factor