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Sci Rep. 2013 Oct 9;3:2909. doi: 10.1038/srep02909.

Membrane driven spatial organization of GPCRs.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York 10065, United States.


Spatial organization of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) into dimers and higher order oligomers has been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo. The pharmacological readout was shown to depend on the specific interfaces, but why particular regions of the GPCR structure are involved, and how ligand-determined states change them remains unknown. Here we show why protein-membrane hydrophobic matching is attained upon oligomerization at specific interfaces from an analysis of coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations of the spontaneous diffusion-interaction of the prototypical beta2-adrenergic (β2AR) receptors in a POPC lipid bilayer. The energy penalty from mismatch is significantly reduced in the spontaneously emerging oligomeric arrays, making the spatial organization of the GPCRs dependent on the pattern of mismatch in the monomer. This mismatch pattern is very different for β2AR compared to the highly homologous and structurally similar β1AR, consonant with experimentally observed oligomerization patterns of β2AR and β1AR. The results provide a mechanistic understanding of the structural context of oligomerization.

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