Critical role for the second extracellular loop in the binding of both orthosteric and allosteric G protein-coupled receptor ligands

Vimesh Ashvinkumar Avlani, Karen Joan Gregory, Craig J Morton, Michael W Parker, Patrick Sexton, Arthur Christopoulos

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120 Citations (Scopus)


The second extracellular (E2) loop of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) plays an essential but poorly understood role in the binding of non-peptidic small molecules. We have utilized both orthosteric ligands and allosteric modulators of the M(2) muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR), a prototypical Family A GPCR, to probe possible E2 loop binding dynamics. We developed a homology model based on the crystal structure of bovine rhodopsin and predicted novel cysteine substitutions that should dramatically reduce E2 loop flexibility via disulfide bond formation, and significantly inhibit the binding of both types of ligands. This prediction was validated experimentally using radioligand binding, dissociation kinetic and cell-based functional assays. The results argue for a flexible gatekeeper role of the E2 loop in the binding of both allosteric and orthosteric GPCR ligands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25677 - 25686
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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