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J Biol Chem. 2002 Aug 23;277(34):31249-56. Epub 2002 Jun 12.

Protein kinase A-mediated phosphorylation of the beta 2-adrenergic receptor regulates its coupling to Gs and Gi. Demonstration in a reconstituted system.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


While classically viewed as a prototypic G(s) and adenylyl cyclase-coupled G protein-coupled receptor, recent studies have indicated that some aspects of beta(2)-adrenergic receptor (beta(2)-AR) signaling are inhibited by pertussis toxin, indicating that they are mediated by G(i)/G(o) proteins. These signals include activation of ERK MAPKs and Akt activation, as well as hypertrophic and anti-apoptotic pathways in cardiac myocytes. Studies in cultured cells have suggested the hypothesis that protein kinase A (PKA)-mediated phosphorylation of the beta(2)-AR regulates its coupling specificity with respect to G(s) and G(i). Using a Chinese hamster ovary cell system, we show that mutant beta(2)-ARs with Ala substituted for Ser at consensus PKA sites stimulate robust cyclic AMP accumulation (G(s)) but are unable to activate ERK (G(i)). In contrast, Ser --> Asp mutants are dramatically impaired in their ability to activate adenylyl cyclase but are significantly more active than wild type receptor in activating ERK. Activation of adenylyl cyclase by wild type and Ser --> Ala mutant receptors is not altered by pertussis toxin, whereas adenylyl cyclase stimulated through the Ser --> Asp mutant is enhanced. Activation of ERK by wild type and Ser --> Asp receptors is inhibited by pertussis toxin. To further rigorously test the hypothesis, we utilized a completely reconstituted system of purified recombinant wild type and PKA phosphorylation site mutant beta(2)-ARs and heterotrimeric G(s) and G(i). G protein coupling was measured by receptor-mediated stimulation of GTPgammaS binding to the G protein. PKA-mediated phosphorylation of the beta(2)-AR significantly decreased its ability to couple to G(s), while simultaneously dramatically increasing its ability to couple to G(i). These results are reproduced when a purified recombinant Ser --> Asp mutant beta(2)-AR is tested, whereas the Ser --> Ala receptor resembles the unphosphorylated wild type. These results provide strong experimental support for the idea that PKA-mediated phosphorylation of the beta(2)-adrenergic receptor switches its predominant coupling from G(s) to G(i).

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