Biogenic amines are important signaling molecules, and the structural basis for their recognition by G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) is well understood. Amines are also potent odors, with some activating olfactory trace amine-associated receptors (TAARs). Here, we report that teleost TAARs evolved a new way to recognize amines in a non-classical orientation. Chemical screens de-orphaned eleven zebrafish TAARs, with agonists including serotonin, histamine, tryptamine, 2-phenylethylamine, putrescine, and agmatine. Receptors from different clades contact ligands through aspartates on transmembrane α-helices III (canonical Asp3.32) or V (non-canonical Asp5.42), and diamine receptors contain both aspartates. Non-classical monoamine recognition evolved in two steps: an ancestral TAAR acquired Asp5.42, gaining diamine sensitivity, and subsequently lost Asp3.32. Through this transformation, the fish olfactory system dramatically expanded its capacity to detect amines, ecologically significant aquatic odors. The evolution of a second, alternative solution for amine detection by olfactory receptors highlights the tremendous structural versatility intrinsic to GPCRs.
- Jeremy Nathans, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, United States
© 2015, Li et al.
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Cyclic GMP-dependent protein kinases (PKGs) are key mediators of the nitric oxide/cGMP signaling pathway that regulates biological functions as diverse as smooth muscle contraction, cardiac function, and axon guidance. Understanding how cGMP differentially triggers mammalian PKG isoforms could lead to new therapeutics that inhibit or activate PKGs, complementing drugs that target nitric oxide synthases and cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases in this signaling axis. Alternate splicing of PRKG1 transcripts confers distinct leucine zippers, linkers, and auto-inhibitory pseudo-substrate sequences to PKG Iα and Iβ that result in isoform-specific activation properties, but the mechanism of enzyme auto-inhibition and its alleviation by cGMP is not well understood. Here we present a crystal structure of PKG Iβ in which the auto-inhibitory sequence and the cyclic nucleotide binding domains are bound to the catalytic domain, providing a snapshot of the auto-inhibited state. Specific contacts between the PKG Iβ auto-inhibitory sequence and the enzyme active site help explain isoform-specific activation constants and the effects of phosphorylation in the linker. We also present a crystal structure of a PKG I cyclic nucleotide binding domain with an activating mutation linked to Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections. Similarity of this structure to wild type cGMP-bound domains and differences with the auto-inhibited enzyme provide a mechanistic basis for constitutive activation. We show that PKG Iβ auto-inhibition is mediated by contacts within each monomer of the native full-length dimeric protein, and using the available structural and biochemical data we develop a model for the regulation and cooperative activation of PKGs.
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