Woo, A. Y., Jozwiak, K., Toll, L., Tanga, M. J., Kozocas, J. A., Jimenez, L., . . . Xiao, R. P. (2014). Tyrosine 308 is necessary for ligand-directed Gs-biased signaling of beta2-adrenoceptor. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 289, 19351-19363. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.558882
Interaction of a given G protein-coupled receptor to multiple different G proteins is a widespread phenomenon. For instance, β2-adrenoceptor (β2-AR) couples dually to Gs and Gi proteins. Previous studies have shown that cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA)-mediated phosphorylation of β2-AR causes a switch in receptor coupling from Gs to Gi. More recent studies have demonstrated that phosphorylation of β2-AR by G protein-coupled receptor kinases, particularly GRK2, markedly enhances the Gi coupling. We have previously shown that although most β2-AR agonists cause both Gs and Gi activation, (R,R’)-fenoterol preferentially activates β2-AR-Gs signaling. However, the structural basis for this functional selectivity remains elusive. Here, using docking simulation and site-directed mutagenesis, we defined Tyr-308 as the key amino acid residue on β2-AR essential for Gs-biased signaling. Following stimulation with a β2-AR-Gs-biased agonist (R,R’)-4′-aminofenoterol, the Gi disruptor pertussis toxin produced no effects on the receptor-mediated ERK phosphorylation in HEK293 cells nor on the contractile response in cardiomyocytes expressing the wild-type β2-AR. Interestingly, Y308F substitution on β2-AR enabled (R,R’)-4′-aminofenoterol to activate Gi and to produce these responses in a pertussis toxin-sensitive manner without altering β2-AR phosphorylation by PKA or G protein-coupled receptor kinases. These results indicate that, in addition to the phosphorylation status, the intrinsic structural feature of β2-AR plays a crucial role in the receptor coupling selectivity to G proteins. We conclude that specific interactions between the ligand and the Tyr-308 residue of β2-AR stabilize receptor conformations favoring the receptor-Gs protein coupling and subsequently result in Gs-biased agonism.