Doctor of Philosophy, Universite Libre De Bruxelles (2013)
Licence, Universite Libre De Bruxelles (2007)
Brian Kobilka, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) remain the primary conduit by which cells detect environmental stimuli and communicate with each other. Upon activation by extracellular agonists, these seven-transmembrane-domain-containing receptors interact with heterotrimeric G proteins to regulate downstream second messenger and/or protein kinase cascades. Crystallographic evidence from a prototypic GPCR, the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR), in complex with its cognate G protein, Gs, has provided a model for how agonist binding promotes conformational changes that propagate through the GPCR and into the nucleotide-binding pocket of the G protein α-subunit to catalyse GDP release, the key step required for GTP binding and activation of G proteins. The structure also offers hints about how G-protein binding may, in turn, allosterically influence ligand binding. Here we provide functional evidence that G-protein coupling to the β2AR stabilizes a 'closed' receptor conformation characterized by restricted access to and egress from the hormone-binding site. Surprisingly, the effects of G protein on the hormone-binding site can be observed in the absence of a bound agonist, where G-protein coupling driven by basal receptor activity impedes the association of agonists, partial agonists, antagonists and inverse agonists. The ability of bound ligands to dissociate from the receptor is also hindered, providing a structural explanation for the G-protein-mediated enhancement of agonist affinity, which has been observed for many GPCR-G-protein pairs. Our data also indicate that, in contrast to agonist binding alone, coupling of a G protein in the absence of an agonist stabilizes large structural changes in a GPCR. The effects of nucleotide-free G protein on ligand-binding kinetics are shared by other members of the superfamily of GPCRs, suggesting that a common mechanism may underlie G-protein-mediated enhancement of agonist affinity.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature18324
View details for Web of Science ID 000379015600049
View details for PubMedID 27362234
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) transduce signals from the extracellular environment to intracellular proteins. To gain structural insight into the regulation of receptor cytoplasmic conformations by extracellular ligands during signaling, we examine the structural dynamics of the cytoplasmic domain of the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR) using (19)F-fluorine NMR and double electron-electron resonance spectroscopy. These studies show that unliganded and inverse-agonist-bound β2AR exists predominantly in two inactive conformations that exchange within hundreds of microseconds. Although agonists shift the equilibrium toward a conformation capable of engaging cytoplasmic G proteins, they do so incompletely, resulting in increased conformational heterogeneity and the coexistence of inactive, intermediate, and active states. Complete transition to the active conformation requires subsequent interaction with a G protein or an intracellular G protein mimetic. These studies demonstrate a loose allosteric coupling of the agonist-binding site and G-protein-coupling interface that may generally be responsible for the complex signaling behavior observed for many GPCRs.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2015.04.043
View details for Web of Science ID 000355152600017