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J Neurochem. 2013 May;125(3):362-72. doi: 10.1111/jnc.12196. Epub 2013 Mar 3.

The Parkinson's disease-associated GPR37 receptor-mediated cytotoxicity is controlled by its intracellular cysteine-rich domain.

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Unitat de Farmacologia, Departament de Patologia i Terapèutica Experimental, Facultat de Medicina, IDIBELL, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


GPR37, also known as parkin-associated endothelin-like receptor (Pael-R), is an orphan G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that aggregates intracellularly in a juvenile form of Parkinson's disease. However, little is known about the structure or function of this receptor. Here, in order to better understand the functioning of this receptor, we focused on the GPR37 C-terminal tail, in particular on a cystein-enriched region. Thus, we aimed to reveal the role of these residues on receptor plasma membrane expression and function, and also whether the presence of this cysteine-rich domain is linked to the previously described receptor-mediated cytotoxicity. Interestingly, while the deletion of six cysteine residues within this region did not affect receptor internalization it promoted GPR37 plasma membrane expression and signaling. Furthermore, the removal of the C-terminal cysteine-rich domain protected against GPR37-mediated apoptosis and cell death. Overall, we identified a GPR37 domain, namely the C-terminal tail cysteine-rich domain, which played a critical role in receptor cell surface expression, function and GPR37-mediated cytotoxicity. These results might contribute to better comprehend the pathophysiology (i.e. in Parkinson's disease) of this rather unknown member of the GPCR family.

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