Modulation of constitutive activity and signaling bias of the ghrelin receptor by conformational constraint in the second extracellular loop

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Based on a rare, natural Glu for Ala204(C+6) variant located six residues after the conserved Cys residue in extracellular loop 2 (ECL2b) associated with selective elimination of the high constitutive signaling of the ghrelin receptor, this loop was subjected to a detailed structure functional analysis. Introduction of Glu in different positions demonstrated that although the constitutive signaling was partly reduced when introduced in position 205(C+7) it was only totally eliminated in position 204(C+6). No charge-charge interaction partner could be identified for Glu(C+6) variant despite mutational analysis of a number of potential partners in the extracellular loops and outer parts of the transmembrane segments. Systematic probing of position 204(C+6) with amino acid residues of different physicochemical properties indicated that a positively charged Lys surprisingly provided similar phenotypes as the negatively charged Glu residue. Computational chemistry analysis indicated that the propensity for the C-terminal segment of ECL2b to form an extended a-helix was increased from 15% in the wild type to 89% and 82% by introduction in position 204(C+6) of a Glu or a Lys residue, respectively. Moreover, the constitutive activity of the receptor was inhibited by Zn(2+) binding in an engineered metal-ion site stabilizing an a-helical conformation of this loop segment. It is concluded that the high constitutive activity of the ghrelin receptor is dependent upon flexibility in the C-terminal segment of extracellular loop 2 and that mutations or ligand binding which constrains this segment and thereby conceivably TM-V relative to TM-III movements inhibits the high constitutive signaling.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Pages (from-to)33488-33502
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

ID: 38542234