G protein activation by serotonin type 4 receptor dimers: evidence that turning on two protomers is more efficient

Pellissier LP, Barthet G, Gaven F, Cassier E, Trinquet E, Pin JP, Marin P, Dumuis A, Bockaert J, Banères JL, Claeysen S.


Institut of Functional Genomics (IGF), Montpellier, France

J Biol Chem. 2011 Mar 25;286(12):9985-97.

The discovery that class C G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) function as obligatory dimeric entities has generated major interest in GPCR oligomerization. Oligomerization now appears to be a common feature among all GPCR classes. However, the functional significance of this process remains unclear because, in vitro, some monomeric GPCRs, such as rhodopsin and ?(2)-adrenergic receptors, activate G proteins. By using wild type and mutant serotonin type 4 receptors (5-HT(4)Rs) (including a 5-HT(4)-RASSL) expressed in COS-7 cells as models of class A GPCRs, we show that activation of one protomer in a dimer was sufficient to stimulate G proteins. However, coupling efficiency was 2 times higher when both protomers were activated. Expression of combinations of 5-HT(4), in which both protomers were able to bind to agonists but only one could couple to G proteins, suggested that upon agonist occupancy, protomers did not independently couple to G proteins but rather that only one G protein was activated. Coupling of a single heterotrimeric G(s) protein to a receptor dimer was further confirmed in vitro, using the purified recombinant WT RASSL 5-HT(4)R obligatory heterodimer. These results, together with previous findings, demonstrate that, differently from class C GPCR dimers, class A GPCR dimers have pleiotropic activation mechanisms.

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