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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2009 Jun;296(6):C1391-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00549.2008. Epub 2009 Apr 15.

Mechanical stimulus alters conformation of type 1 parathyroid hormone receptor in bone cells.

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  • 1La Jolla Bioengineering Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


The molecular mechanisms by which bone cells transduce mechanical stimuli into intracellular biochemical responses have yet to be established. There is evidence that mechanical stimulation acts synergistically with parathyroid hormone PTH(1-34) in mediating bone growth. Using picosecond time-resolved fluorescence microscopy and G protein-coupled receptor conformation-sensitive fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), we investigated conformational transitions in parathyroid hormone type 1 receptor (PTH1R). 1) A genetically engineered PTH1R sensor containing an intramolecular FRET pair was constructed that enabled detection of conformational activity of PTH1R in single cells. 2) The nature of ligand-dependent conformational change of PTH1R depends on the type of ligand: stimulation with the PTH(1-34) leads to conformational transitions characterized by decrease in FRET efficiency while NH(2)-terminal truncated ligand PTH(3-34) stimulates conformational transitions characterized by higher FRET efficiencies. 3) Stimulation of murine preosteoblastic cells (MC3T3-E1) with fluid shear stress (FSS) leads to significant changes in conformational equilibrium of the PTH1R in MC3T3-E1 cells, suggesting that mechanical perturbation of the plasma membrane leads to ligand-independent response of the PTH1R. Conformational transitions induced by mechanical stress were characterized by an increase in FRET efficiency, similar to those induced by the NH(2)-terminal truncated ligand PTH(3-34). The response to the FSS stimulation was inhibited in the presence of PTH(1-34) in the flow medium. These results indicate that the FSS can modulate the action of the PTH(1-34) ligand. 4) Plasma membrane fluidization using benzyl alcohol or cholesterol extraction also leads to conformational transitions characterized by increased FRET levels. We therefore suggest that PTH1R is involved in mediating primary mechanochemical signal transduction in MC3T3-E1 cells.

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