Molecular Mechanisms of Class B GPCR Activation: Insights from Adrenomedullin Receptors

Michael L. Garelja, Maggie Au, Margaret A. Brimble, Joseph J. Gingell, Erica R. Hendrikse, Annie Lovell, Nicole Prodan, Patrick M. Sexton, Andrew Siow, Christopher S. Walker, Harriet A. Watkins, Geoffrey M. Williams, Denise Wootten, Sung H. Yang, Paul W.R. Harris, Debbie L. Hay

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Adrenomedullin (AM) is a 52 amino acid peptide that plays a regulatory role in the vasculature. Receptors for AM comprise the class B G protein-coupled receptor, the calcitonin-like receptor (CLR), in complex with one of three receptor activity-modifying proteins (RAMPs). The C-terminus of AM is involved in binding to the extracellular domain of the receptor, while the N-terminus is proposed to interact with the juxtamembranous portion of the receptor to activate signaling. There is currently limited information on the molecular determinants involved in AM signaling, thus we set out to define the importance of the AM N-terminus through five signaling pathways (cAMP production, ERK phosphorylation, CREB phosphorylation, Akt phosphorylation, and IP1 production). We characterized the three CLR:RAMP complexes through the five pathways, finding that each had a distinct repertoire of intracellular signaling pathways that it is able to regulate. We then performed an alanine scan of AM from residues 15-31 and found that most residues could be substituted with only small effects on signaling, and that most substitutions affected signaling through all receptors and pathways in a similar manner. We identify F18, T20, L26, and I30 as being critical for AM function, while also identifying an analogue (AM15-52 G19A) which has unique signaling properties relative to the unmodified AM. We interpret our findings in the context of new structural information, highlighting the complementary nature of structural biology and functional assays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-262
Number of pages17
JournalACS Pharmacology & Translational Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2020


  • adrenomedullin
  • adrenomedullin 2/intermedin
  • calcitonin-like receptor
  • G protein-coupled receptor
  • receptor activity-modifying protein
  • signaling bias/functional selectivity

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