Ligand-dependent activation of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) involves repositioning of the juxtacytoplasmic ends of transmembrane helices TM3 and TM6. This concept, inferred from site-directed spin labeling studies, is supported by chemical cross-linking of the cytoplasmic ends of TM3 and TM6 blocking GPCR activation. Here we report a novel constitutive active mutation (M626I) in TM6 of the TSH receptor (TSHR), identified in affected members of a family with nonautoimmune hyperthyroidism. The specific constitutive activity of M626I, measured by its basal cAMP generation corrected for cell surface expression, was 13-fold higher than that of wild-type TSHR. Homology modeling of the TSHR serpentine domain based on the rhodopsin crystal structure suggests that M626 faces the side chain of I515 of TM3 near the membrane-cytoplasmic junction. Steric hindrance of the introduced isoleucine by I515 is consistent with the fact that shorter or more flexible side chains at position 626 did not increase constitutivity. Furthermore, a reciprocal mutation at position 515 (I515M), when introduced into the M626I background, acts as revertant mutation by allowing accommodation of the isoleucine sidechain at position 626 and fully restoring the constitutive activity to the level of wild-type TSHR. Thus, repulsive separation of the juxtacytoplasmic TM6 and TM3 in the M626I model conclusively demonstrates a direct link between the opening of this cytoplasmic face of the receptor structure and G protein coupling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology