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Elife. 2018 Jun 22;7. pii: e32499. doi: 10.7554/eLife.32499.

Measuring ligand efficacy at the mu-opioid receptor using a conformational biosensor.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, United States.
2
Edward F Domino Research Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States.
3
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, United States.
4
Department of Pharmacology, University of California San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, United States.

Abstract

The intrinsic efficacy of orthosteric ligands acting at G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) reflects their ability to stabilize active receptor states (R*) and is a major determinant of their physiological effects. Here, we present a direct way to quantify the efficacy of ligands by measuring the binding of a R*-specific biosensor to purified receptor employing interferometry. As an example, we use the mu-opioid receptor (µ-OR), a prototypic class A GPCR, and its active state sensor, nanobody-39 (Nb39). We demonstrate that ligands vary in their ability to recruit Nb39 to µ-OR and describe methadone, loperamide, and PZM21 as ligands that support unique R* conformation(s) of µ-OR. We further show that positive allosteric modulators of µ-OR promote formation of R* in addition to enhancing promotion by orthosteric agonists. Finally, we demonstrate that the technique can be utilized with heterotrimeric G protein. The method is cell-free, signal transduction-independent and is generally applicable to GPCRs.

KEYWORDS:

GPCR; biochemistry; chemical biology; drug discovery; efficacy; ligand; molecular biophysics; mouse; opioid; structural biology

PMID:
29932421
PMCID:
PMC6042960
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.32499
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

KL, JM, AM, RS, JT No competing interests declared

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