Molecular mechanisms of prostacyclin receptor signaling: The intracellular domains in G protein coupling

Lihai Zhang, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


To better understand the mechanisms of how the human prostacyclin receptor (1P) mediates vasodilation and platelet anti-aggregation through Gs protein coupling, a strategy integrating multiple approaches including high resolution NMR experiments, synthetic peptide, fluorescence spectroscopy, molecular modeling, and recombinant protein was developed and used to characterize the structure/function relationship of important segments and residues of the IP receptor and the α-subunit of the Gs protein (Gαs). The first (iLP1) and third (iLP3) intracellular loops of the IP receptor, as well as the Gαs C-terminal domain, relevant to the Gs-mediated IP receptor signaling, were first identified by observation of the effects of the mini gene-expressed corresponding protein segments in HEK293 cells which co-expressed the receptor and Gαs. Evidence of the IP iLP1 domain interacted with the Gαs C-terminal domain was observed by fluorescence and NMR spectroscopic studies using a constrained synthetic peptide, which mimicked the IP iLP1 domain, and the synthetic peptide, which mimicked Gαs C-terminal domain. The solution structural models and the peptide-peptide interaction of the two synthetic protein segments were determined by high resolution NMR spectroscopy. The important residues in the corresponding domains of the IP receptor and the Gαs predicted by NMR chemical shift mapping were used to guide the identification of their protein-protein interaction in cells. A profile of the residues Arg42 - Ala48 of the IP iLP1 domain and the three residues Glu392 ∼ Leu394 of the Gαs C-terminal domain involved in the IP/Gs protein coupling were confirmed by recombinant proteins. The data revealed an intriguing speculation on the mechanisms of how the signal of the ligand-activated IP receptor is transmitted to the Gs protein in regulating vascular functions and homeostasis, and also provided substantial insights into other prostanoid receptor signaling.

Subject Area

Biochemistry|Molecular biology|Pathology

Recommended Citation

Zhang, Lihai, "Molecular mechanisms of prostacyclin receptor signaling: The intracellular domains in G protein coupling" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3195270.