Seven-transmembrane receptors (7TMRs), also termed G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), form the largest class of cell surface membrane receptors, involving several hundred members in the human genome. Near 30% of marketed pharmacological agents target 7TMRs. 7TMRs adopt multiple conformations upon agonist binding. Biased agonists, in contrast to non-biased agonists, are believed to stabilize conformations preferentially activating either G-protein- or ß-arrestin-dependent signalling pathways. However, proof that cognate conformations of receptors display structural differences within their binding site where biased agonism initiates, are still lacking. Here, we show that a non-biased agonist, cholecystokinin (CCK) induces conformational states of the CCK2R activating Gq-protein-dependent pathway (CCK2RG) or recruiting ß-arrestin2 (CCK2Rß) that are pharmacologically and structurally distinct. Two structurally unrelated antagonists competitively inhibited both pathways. A third ligand (GV150,013X), acted as a high affinity competitive antagonist on CCK2RG but was nearly inefficient as inhibitor of CCK2Rß. Several structural elements on both GV150,013X and in CCK2R binding cavity, which hinder binding of GV150,013X only to the CCK2Rß were identified. At last, proximity between two conserved amino acids from transmembrane helices 3 and 7 interacting through sulphur-aromatic interaction was shown to be crucial for selective stabilization of the CCK2Rß state. These data establish structural evidences for distinct conformations of a 7TMR associated with ß-arrestin-2 recruitment or G-protein coupling and validate relevance of the design of biased ligands able to selectively target each functional conformation of 7TMRs.
Magnan, R., Escrieut, C., Gigoux, V., De, K., Clerc, P., Niu, F., Azema, J., Masri, B., Cordomi, A., Baltas, M., Tikhonova, I. G., & Fourmy, D. (2013). Distinct CCK-2 Receptor Conformations Associated with β-Arrestin-2 Recruitment or Phospholipase-C Activation Revealed by a Biased Antagonist. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 135(7), 2560-2573. https://doi.org/10.1021/ja308784w