Impedance responses reveal beta2-adrenergic receptor signaling pluridimensionality and allow classification of ligands with distinct signaling profiles

Wayne Stallaert, Jonas F Dorn, Emma Therese van der Westhuizen, Martin Audet, Michel Bouvier

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82 Citations (Scopus)


The discovery that drugs targeting a single G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) can differentially modulate distinct subsets of the receptor signaling repertoire has created a challenge for drug discovery at these important therapeutic targets. Here, we demonstrate that a single label-free assay based on cellular impedance provides a real-time integration of multiple signaling events engaged upon GPCR activation. Stimulation of the beta 2-adrenergic receptor (beta 2AR) in living cells with the prototypical agonist isoproterenol generated a complex, multi-featured impedance response over time. Selective pharmacological inhibition of specific arms of the beta 2AR signaling network revealed the differential contribution of G s-, G i- and G beta gamma-dependent signaling events, including activation of the canonical cAMP and ERK1/2 pathways, to specific components of the impedance response. Further dissection revealed the essential role of intracellular Ca 2+ in the impedance response and led to the discovery of a novel beta 2AR-promoted Ca 2+ mobilization event. Recognizing that impedance responses provide an integrative assessment of ligand activity, we screened a collection of beta-adrenergic ligands to determine if differences in the signaling repertoire engaged by compounds would lead to distinct impedance signatures. An unsupervised clustering analysis of the impedance responses revealed the existence of 5 distinct compound classes, revealing a richer signaling texture than previously recognized for this receptor. Taken together, these data indicate that the pluridimensionality of GPCR signaling can be captured using integrative approaches to provide a comprehensive readout of drug activity.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere29420
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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