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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1988 Dec;85(24):9494-8.

Structural basis of beta-adrenergic receptor subtype specificity studied with chimeric beta 1/beta 2-adrenergic receptors.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710.


The beta 1- and beta 2-adrenergic receptors are two structurally related, but pharmacologically distinguishable, receptor subtypes, both of which activate adenylyl cyclase in a catecholamine-dependent manner through the guanine nucleotide-binding regulatory protein Gs. The receptors are approximately 50% identical in amino acid sequence and each is characterized by the presence of seven putative transmembrane domains. To elucidate the structural basis for the pharmacological distinctions between these two receptor subtypes, we constructed a series of chimeric beta 1/beta 2-adrenergic receptor genes and expressed them by injection of RNA into Xenopus laevis oocytes. The pharmacological properties of the expressed chimeric receptor proteins were assessed by radioligand binding and adenylyl cyclase assays utilizing subtype-selective agonists and antagonists. Our data indicate that transmembrane region IV is largely responsible for determining beta 1 vs. beta 2 properties with respect to agonist binding (relative affinities for epinephrine and norepinephrine). Transmembrane regions VI and VII play an important role in determining binding of beta 1 vs. beta 2 selective antagonists. However, a number of the other transmembrane regions also contribute, to a lesser extent, to the determination of beta-adrenergic receptor subtype specificity for agonists and antagonists. Thus, several of the membrane-spanning regions appear to be involved in the determination of receptor subtype specificity, presumably by formation of a ligand-binding pocket, with determinants for agonist and antagonist binding being distinguishable.

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