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J Biol Chem. 2007 Feb 2;282(5):3105-21. Epub 2006 Nov 29.

A comprehensive structure-function map of the intracellular surface of the human C5a receptor. I. Identification of critical residues.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Molecular Biology, Washington School of Medicine, Missouri 63110, USA.


G protein-coupled receptors are one of the largest protein families in nature; however, the mechanisms by which they activate G proteins are still poorly understood. To identify residues on the intracellular face of the human C5a receptor that are involved in G protein activation, we performed a genetic analysis of each of the three intracellular loops and the carboxyl-terminal tail of the receptor. Amino acid substitutions were randomly incorporated into each loop, and functional receptors were identified in yeast. The third intracellular loop contains the largest number of preserved residues (positions resistant to amino acid substitutions), followed by the second loop, the first loop, and lastly the carboxyl terminus. Surprisingly, complete removal of the carboxyl-terminal tail did not impair C5a receptor signaling. When mapped onto a three-dimensional structural model of the inactive state of the C5a receptor, the preserved residues reside on one half of the intracellular surface of the receptor, creating a potential activation face. Together these data provide one of the most comprehensive functional maps of the intracellular surface of any G protein-coupled receptor to date.

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