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PLOS ONE  2012 

Comparative Analysis of the Heptahelical Transmembrane Bundles of G Protein-Coupled Receptors

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035802

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Background G protein-coupled receptors represent a large family of eukaryotic membrane proteins, and are involved in almost all physiological processes in humans. Recent advances in the crystallographic study of these receptors enable a detailed comparative analysis of the commonly shared heptahelical transmembrane bundle. Systematic comparison of the bundles from a variety of receptors is indispensable for understanding not only of the structural diversification optimized for the binding of respective ligands but also of the structural conservation required for the common mechanism of activation accompanying the interaction changes among the seven helices. Methodology/Principal Findings We have examined the bundles of 94 polypeptide chains from almost all available structures of 11 receptors, which we classified into either inactivated chain or activated chain, based on the type of bound ligand. For the inactivated chains, superposition of 200 residue bundles by secondary structure matching demonstrated that the bound ligands share a laterally limited cavity in the extracellular section of the bundle. Furthermore, a distinct feature was found for helix III of bovine rhodopsin, which might have evolved to lower its activity in the presence of 11-cis-retinal, to a level that other receptors could hardly achieve with any currently available ligands. Conclusions/Significance Systematic analysis described here would be valuable for understanding of the rearrangement of seven helices which depends on the ligand specificity and activation state of the receptors.


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