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      Transmembrane signal transduction by peptide hormones via family B G protein-coupled receptors

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          Although family B G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) contain only 15 members, they play key roles in transmembrane signal transduction of hormones. Family B GPCRs are drug targets for developing therapeutics for diseases ranging from metabolic to neurological disorders. Despite their importance, the molecular mechanism of activation of family B GPCRs remains largely unexplored due to the challenges in expression and purification of functional receptors to the quantity for biophysical characterization. Currently, there is no crystal structure available of a full-length family B GPCR. However, structures of key domains, including the extracellular ligand binding regions and seven-helical transmembrane regions, have been solved by X-ray crystallography and NMR, providing insights into the mechanisms of ligand recognition and selectivity, and helical arrangements within the cell membrane. Moreover, biophysical and biochemical methods have been used to explore functions, key residues for signaling, and the kinetics and dynamics of signaling processes. This review summarizes the current knowledge of the signal transduction mechanism of family B GPCRs at the molecular level and comments on the challenges and outlook for mechanistic studies of family B GPCRs.

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          Crystal Structure of the β2Adrenergic Receptor-Gs protein complex

          G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are responsible for the majority of cellular responses to hormones and neurotransmitters as well as the senses of sight, olfaction and taste. The paradigm of GPCR signaling is the activation of a heterotrimeric GTP binding protein (G protein) by an agonist-occupied receptor. The β2 adrenergic receptor (β2AR) activation of Gs, the stimulatory G protein for adenylyl cyclase, has long been a model system for GPCR signaling. Here we present the crystal structure of the active state ternary complex composed of agonist-occupied monomeric β2AR and nucleotide-free Gs heterotrimer. The principal interactions between the β2AR and Gs involve the amino and carboxyl terminal α-helices of Gs, with conformational changes propagating to the nucleotide-binding pocket. The largest conformational changes in the β2AR include a 14 Å outward movement at the cytoplasmic end of transmembrane segment 6 (TM6) and an alpha helical extension of the cytoplasmic end of TM5. The most surprising observation is a major displacement of the alpha helical domain of Gαs relative to the ras-like GTPase domain. This crystal structure represents the first high-resolution view of transmembrane signaling by a GPCR.
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            High-resolution crystal structure of an engineered human beta2-adrenergic G protein-coupled receptor.

            Heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding protein (G protein)-coupled receptors constitute the largest family of eukaryotic signal transduction proteins that communicate across the membrane. We report the crystal structure of a human beta2-adrenergic receptor-T4 lysozyme fusion protein bound to the partial inverse agonist carazolol at 2.4 angstrom resolution. The structure provides a high-resolution view of a human G protein-coupled receptor bound to a diffusible ligand. Ligand-binding site accessibility is enabled by the second extracellular loop, which is held out of the binding cavity by a pair of closely spaced disulfide bridges and a short helical segment within the loop. Cholesterol, a necessary component for crystallization, mediates an intriguing parallel association of receptor molecules in the crystal lattice. Although the location of carazolol in the beta2-adrenergic receptor is very similar to that of retinal in rhodopsin, structural differences in the ligand-binding site and other regions highlight the challenges in using rhodopsin as a template model for this large receptor family.
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              The G-protein-coupled receptors in the human genome form five main families. Phylogenetic analysis, paralogon groups, and fingerprints.

              The superfamily of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is very diverse in structure and function and its members are among the most pursued targets for drug development. We identified more than 800 human GPCR sequences and simultaneously analyzed 342 unique functional nonolfactory human GPCR sequences with phylogenetic analyses. Our results show, with high bootstrap support, 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 with 13 sub-branches. Positions of the GPCRs in chromosomal paralogons regions indicate the importance of tetraploidizations or local gene duplication events for their creation. We also searched for "fingerprint" motifs using Hidden Markov Models delineating the putative inter-relationship of the GRAFS families. We show several common structural features indicating that the human GPCRs in the GRAFS families share a common ancestor. This study represents the first overall map of the GPCRs in a single mammalian genome. Our novel approach of analyzing such large and diverse sequence sets may be useful for studies on GPCRs in other genomes and divergent protein families.

                Author and article information

                Front Pharmacol
                Front Pharmacol
                Front. Pharmacol.
                Frontiers in Pharmacology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                05 November 2015
                : 6
                1Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University New Haven, CT, USA
                2Department of Chemistry, Yale University New Haven, CT, USA
                Author notes

                Edited by: Xavier Deupi, Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland

                Reviewed by: Gian Marco Leggio, University of Catania, Italy; Andrea Bortolato, Heptares Therapeutics, UK

                *Correspondence: Elsa C. Y. Yan elsa.yan@

                This article was submitted to Experimental Pharmacology and Drug Discovery, a section of the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology

                †These authors have contributed equally to this work.

                Copyright © 2015 Culhane, Liu, Cai and Yan.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 13, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 174, Pages: 23, Words: 17117
                Funded by: National Science Foundation 10.13039/100000001
                Award ID: MCB-0955407
                Funded by: National Institutes of Health 10.13039/100000002
                Award ID: T32 GM008283-27


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