23 May 2013

SEMINAR: Activation of GPCRs and G proteins; a Structural and Pharmacological perspective


Brian DeVree 
from Roger Sunahara's lab at University of Michigan

Monday the 27th at 2PM (kl 14.00)
at the Faculty Club, Panum Institute

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are an important class of cell-surface transmembrane receptors that pass an activation signal to the interior of the cell through heterotrimeric G proteins. In this work, we study the human β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR) and stimulatory G protein (Gs) as examples in order to understand the molecular basis of this signal transfer event. We solved a 3.2 Å crystal structure of β2AR and Gs in a nucleotide-free, intermediate signaling complex, revealing the interaction between the proteins in atomic resolution. The structure was consistent with previous biochemical knowledge, but also revealed several previously unknown features of the activation process. We also used deuterium/hydrogen exchange and electron microscopy in order to find regions in the complex that change conformation during the activation process. These regions are highly conserved within the GPCR and G protein families, and this work shows the central role that they play in the process of GPCR signal transduction. The binding of drugs to the receptor in the fully activated state, as seen in the β2AR-Gs complex, was also characterized by radioligand and antibody fragment binding. A full kinetic model was developed for drug binding to the activated receptor which demonstrated how the ligand is held very tightly in the receptor binding pocket. This tight ligand binding can be relieved by the addition of GDP, demonstrating a direct allosteric link in-between the G protein nucleotide binding site and the receptor ligand binding site. Overall, this work demonstrates how the GPCR signal transduction machinery operates in high-resolution structural, kinetic, and pharmacological detail. It represents a significant advance in our understanding of how GPCRs and G proteins pass a signal across the cellular membrane.

Organiser: Søren Gøsig Faarup Rasmussen – sgfr@sund.ku.dk