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Amino Acids. 2008 Jun;35(1):1-15. doi: 10.1007/s00726-008-0637-6. Epub 2008 Feb 12.

An ion-responsive motif in the second transmembrane segment of rhodopsin-like receptors.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Cell Sciences, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.


A L(M)xxxD(N, E) motif (x=a non-ionic amino acid residue, most frequently A, S, L or F; small capitals indicating a minor representation) is found in the second transmembrane (tm2) segment of most G-protein coupling metazoan receptors of the rhodopsin family (Rh-GPCRs). Changes in signal transduction, agonist binding and receptor cycling are known for numerous receptors bearing evolved or experimentally introduced mutations in this tm2 motif, especially of its aspartate residue. The [Na(+)] sensitivity of the receptor-agonist interaction relates to this aspartate in a number of Rh-GPCRs. Native non-conservative mutations in the tm2 motif only rarely coincide with significant changes in two other ubiquitous features of the rhodopsin family, the seventh transmembrane N(D)PxxY(F) motif and the D(E)RY(W,F) or analogous sequence at the border of the third transmembrane helix and the second intracellular loop. Native tm2 mutations with Rh-GPCRs frequently result in constitutive signaling, and with visual opsins also in shifts to short-wavelength sensitivity. Substitution of a strongly basic residue for the tm2 aspartate in Taste-2 receptors could be connected to a lack of sodium sensing by these receptors. These properties could be consistent with ionic interactions, and even of ion transfer, that involve the tm2 motif. A decrease in cation sensing by this motif is usually connected to an enhanced constitutive interaction of the mutated receptors with cognate G- proteins, and also relates to both the constitutive and the overall activity of the short-wavelength opsins.

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