A conserved Asn in transmembrane helix 7 is an on/off switch in the activation of the thyrotropin receptor.

TitleA conserved Asn in transmembrane helix 7 is an on/off switch in the activation of the thyrotropin receptor.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsGovaerts, C., A. Lefort, S. Costagliola, S. J. Wodak, J. A. Ballesteros, J. Van Sande, L. Pardo, and G. Vassart
JournalJ Biol Chem
Date Published2001 Jun 22
KeywordsAnimals, Asparagine, COS Cells, Cyclic AMP, Membrane Proteins, Models, Molecular, Mutagenesis, Site-Directed, Protein Conformation, Receptors, Thyrotropin, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid, Thyrotropin

The thyrotropin (TSH) receptor is an interesting model to study G protein-coupled receptor activation as many point mutations can significantly increase its basal activity. Here, we identified a molecular interaction between Asp(633) in transmembrane helix 6 (TM6) and Asn(674) in TM7 of the TSHr that is crucial to maintain the inactive state through conformational constraint of the Asn. We show that these residues are perfectly conserved in the glycohormone receptor family, except in one case, where they are exchanged, suggesting a direct interaction. Molecular modeling of the TSHr, based on the high resolution structure of rhodopsin, strongly favors this hypothesis. Our approach combining site-directed mutagenesis with molecular modeling shows that mutations disrupting this interaction, like the D633A mutation in TM6, lead to high constitutive activation. The strongly activating N674D (TM7) mutation, which in our modeling breaks the TM6-TM7 link, is reverted to wild type-like behavior by an additional D633N mutation (TM6), which would restore this link. Moreover, we show that the Asn of TM7 (conserved in most G protein-coupled receptors) is mandatory for ligand-induced cAMP accumulation, suggesting an active role of this residue in activation. In the TSHr, the conformation of this Asn residue of TM7 would be constrained, in the inactive state, by its Asp partner in TM6.

Alternate JournalJ. Biol. Chem.
PubMed ID11312274