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Understanding GPCR recognition and folding from NMR studies of fragments


Marino, Jacopo; Walser, Reto; Poms, Martin; Zerbe, Oliver (2018). Understanding GPCR recognition and folding from NMR studies of fragments. RSC Advances, 8:9858-9870.

Abstract

Cotranslational protein folding is a vectorial process, and for membrane proteins, N-terminal helical segments are the first that become available for membrane insertion. While structures of many G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) in various states have been determined, the details of their folding pathways are largely unknown. The seven transmembrane (TM) helices of GPCRs often contain polar residues within the hydrophobic core, and some of the helices in isolation are predicted to be only marginally stable in a membrane environment.
Here we review our efforts to describe how marginally hydrophobic TM helices of GPCRs integrate into the membrane in absence of all compensating interhelical contacts, ideally capturing early biogenesis events. To this end, we use truncated GPCRs, here referred to as fragments. We present data from the human Y4 and the yeast Ste2p receptors in detergent micelles derived from solution NMR techniques. We find that secondary structure in the fragments is similar to corresponding parts of the entire receptors. However, uncompensated polar or charged residues destabilize the helices, and prevent proper integration into the lipid bilayer, in agreement with the biophysical scales from Wimley and White for the partitioning of amino acids into the membrane-interior. We observe that the stability and integration of single TM helices is improved by adding neighboring helices. We describe a topology study, in which all possible forms of the Y4 receptor were made so that the entire receptor is truncated from the N-terminus by one TM helix at a time. We discover that proteins with an increasing number of helices assume a more defined topology. In a parallel study, we focused on the role of extracellular loops in ligand recognition. We demonstrate that transferring all loops of the human Y1 receptor onto the E. coli outer membrane protein OmpA in a suitable topology results in a chimeric receptor that displays, albeit reduced, affinity and specificity for the cognate ligand. Our data indicate that not all TM helices will spontaneously insert into the helix, and we suggest that at least for some GPCRs, N-terminal segments might remain associated with the translocon until their interacting partners are biosynthesized.

Abstract

Cotranslational protein folding is a vectorial process, and for membrane proteins, N-terminal helical segments are the first that become available for membrane insertion. While structures of many G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) in various states have been determined, the details of their folding pathways are largely unknown. The seven transmembrane (TM) helices of GPCRs often contain polar residues within the hydrophobic core, and some of the helices in isolation are predicted to be only marginally stable in a membrane environment.
Here we review our efforts to describe how marginally hydrophobic TM helices of GPCRs integrate into the membrane in absence of all compensating interhelical contacts, ideally capturing early biogenesis events. To this end, we use truncated GPCRs, here referred to as fragments. We present data from the human Y4 and the yeast Ste2p receptors in detergent micelles derived from solution NMR techniques. We find that secondary structure in the fragments is similar to corresponding parts of the entire receptors. However, uncompensated polar or charged residues destabilize the helices, and prevent proper integration into the lipid bilayer, in agreement with the biophysical scales from Wimley and White for the partitioning of amino acids into the membrane-interior. We observe that the stability and integration of single TM helices is improved by adding neighboring helices. We describe a topology study, in which all possible forms of the Y4 receptor were made so that the entire receptor is truncated from the N-terminus by one TM helix at a time. We discover that proteins with an increasing number of helices assume a more defined topology. In a parallel study, we focused on the role of extracellular loops in ligand recognition. We demonstrate that transferring all loops of the human Y1 receptor onto the E. coli outer membrane protein OmpA in a suitable topology results in a chimeric receptor that displays, albeit reduced, affinity and specificity for the cognate ligand. Our data indicate that not all TM helices will spontaneously insert into the helix, and we suggest that at least for some GPCRs, N-terminal segments might remain associated with the translocon until their interacting partners are biosynthesized.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Uncontrolled Keywords:NMR GPCR Folding Protein Fragment
Language:English
Date:9 March 2018
Deposited On:16 Mar 2018 20:11
Last Modified:18 Apr 2018 11:49
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN:2046-2069
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1039/C8RA01520A
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project TitleSwiss National Science Foundation

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