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J Biol Chem. 1997 Jan 24;272(4):2069-76.

Random mutagenesis of the cAMP chemoattractant receptor, cAR1, of Dictyostelium. Evidence for multiple states of activation.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


cAMP receptor 1 (cAR1) of Dictyostelium couples to the G protein G2 to mediate activation of adenylyl and guanylyl cyclases, chemotaxis, and cell aggregation. Other cAR1-dependent events, including receptor phosphorylation and influx of extracellular Ca2+, do not require G proteins. To further characterize signal transduction through cAR1, we performed random mutagenesis of the third intracellular loop (24 amino acids), since the corresponding region of other seven helix receptors has been implicated in the coupling to G proteins. Mutant receptors were expressed in car1(-) cells and were characterized for G protein-dependent and -independent signal transduction. Our results demonstrate that cAR1 is remarkably tolerant to amino acid substitutions in the third intracellular loop. Of the 21 positions where amino acid substitutions were observed, one or more replacements were found that retained full biological function. However, certain alterations resulted in receptors with reduced ability to bind cAMP and/or transduce signals. There were specific signal transduction mutants that could undergo cAMP-dependent cAR1 phosphorylation but were impaired either in coupling to G proteins, in G protein-independent Ca2+ influx, or in both pathways. In addition, there were general activation mutants that failed to restore aggregation to car1(-) cells and displayed severe defects in all signal transduction events, including the most robust response, cAMP-dependent cAR1 phosphorylation. Certain of these mutant phenotypes were obtained in a complementary study, where the entire region of cAR1 from the third to the seventh transmembrane helices was randomly mutagenized. Considered together, these studies indicate that the activation cycle of cAR1 may involve a number of distinct receptor intermediates. A model of G protein-dependent and -independent signal transduction through cAR1 is discussed.

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