Stabilization of functional recombinant cannabinoid receptor CB(2) in detergent micelles and lipid bilayers.
ABSTRACT: Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of activation of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is among the most challenging tasks for modern membrane biology. For studies by high resolution analytical methods, these integral membrane receptors have to be expressed in large quantities, solubilized from cell membranes and purified in detergent micelles, which may result in a severe destabilization and a loss of function. Here, we report insights into differential effects of detergents, lipids and cannabinoid ligands on stability of the recombinant cannabinoid receptor CB(2), and provide guidelines for preparation and handling of the fully functional receptor suitable for a wide array of downstream applications. While we previously described the expression in Escherichia coli, purification and liposome-reconstitution of multi-milligram quantities of CB(2), here we report an efficient stabilization of the recombinant receptor in micelles - crucial for functional and structural characterization. The effects of detergents, lipids and specific ligands on structural stability of CB(2) were assessed by studying activation of G proteins by the purified receptor reconstituted into liposomes. Functional structure of the ligand binding pocket of the receptor was confirmed by binding of (2)H-labeled ligand measured by solid-state NMR. We demonstrate that a concerted action of an anionic cholesterol derivative, cholesteryl hemisuccinate (CHS) and high affinity cannabinoid ligands CP-55,940 or SR-144,528 are required for efficient stabilization of the functional fold of CB(2) in dodecyl maltoside (DDM)/CHAPS detergent solutions. Similar to CHS, the negatively charged phospholipids with the serine headgroup (PS) exerted significant stabilizing effects in micelles while uncharged phospholipids were not effective. The purified CB(2) reconstituted into lipid bilayers retained functionality for up to several weeks enabling high resolution structural studies of this GPCR at physiologically relevant conditions.
Project description:Human cannabinoid type 2 (CB(2)) receptor expressed in Escherichia coli was purified and successfully reconstituted in the functional form into lipid bilayers composed of POPC, 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-L-serine (POPS), and cholesteryl hemisuccinate (CHS). Reconstitution was performed by detergent removal from the protein/lipid/detergent mixed micelles either on an adsorbent column, or by rapid dilution to below the critical micelle concentration of detergent followed by removal of detergent monomers on a concentrator. Proteoliposomes prepared at a protein/phospholipid/CHS molar ratio of 1/620-650/210-220 are free of detergent as shown by (1)H NMR, have a homogeneous protein/lipid ratio shown by isopycnic gradient ultracentrifugation, and are small in size with a mean diameter of 150-200 nm as measured by dynamic light scattering. Functional integrity of the reconstituted receptor was confirmed by quantitative binding of (2)H-labeled agonist CP-55,940-d(6) measured by (2)H magic angle spinning NMR, as well as by activation of G protein. The efficiency of G protein activation by agonist-bound CB(2) receptor was affected by negative electric surface potentials of proteoliposomes controlled by the content of anionic CHS or POPS. The activation was highest at an anionic lipid content of about 50 mol %. There was no correlation between the efficiency of G protein activation and an increase of hydrocarbon chain order induced by CHS or cholesterol. The results suggest the importance of anionic lipids in regulating signal transduction by CB(2) receptor and other class A GPCR. The successful reconstitution of milligram quantities of pure, functional CB(2) receptor enables a wide variety of structural studies.
Project description:The adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR) is a much-studied class A G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR). For biophysical studies, A2AR is commonly purified in a detergent mixture of dodecylmaltoside (DDM), 3-(3-cholamidopropyl) dimethylammoniopropane sulfonate (CHAPS), and cholesteryl hemisuccinate (CHS). Here we studied the effects of CHAPS on the ligand binding activity and stability of wild type, full-length human A2AR. We also tested the cholesterol requirement for maintaining the active conformation of the receptor when solubilized in detergent micelles. To this end, the receptor was purified using DDM, DDM/CHAPS, or the short hydrocarbon chain lipid 1,2-dihexanoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DHPC, di-6:0PC). After solubilization in DDM, DDM/CHAPS, or DHPC micelles, although A2AR was found to retain its native-like fold, its binding ability was significantly compromised compared to DDM or DDM/CHAPS with CHS. It therefore appears that although cholesterol is not needed for A2AR to retain a native-like, ?-helical conformation, it may be a critical component for high affinity ligand binding. Further, this result suggests that the conformational differences between the active and inactive protein may be so subtle that commonly used spectroscopic methods are unable to differentiate between the two forms, highlighting the need for activity measurements. The studies presented in this paper also underline the importance of the protein's purification history; i.e., detergents that interact with the protein during purification affect the ligand binding properties of the receptor in an irreversible manner.
Project description:Rational design of pharmaceutical drugs targeting integral membrane G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) requires thorough understanding of ligand binding and mechanism of activation through high resolution structural studies of purified proteins. Due to inherent conformational flexibility of GPCR, stabilization of these proteins solubilized from cell membranes into detergents is a challenging task. Here, we take advantage of naturally occurring post-translational modifications for stabilization of purified GPCR in detergent micelles. The recombinant cannabinoid CB2 receptor was expressed at high yield in Expi293F mammalian cell cultures, solubilized and purified in Façade detergent. We report superior stability of the mammalian cell-expressed receptor compared to its E. coli-expressed counterpart, due to contributions from glycosylation of the N terminus and palmitoylation of the C terminus of CB2. Finally, we demonstrate that the mammalian Expi293F amino acid labelling kit is suitable for preparation of multi-milligram quantities of high quality, selectively stable isotope-labeled GPCR for studies by nuclear magnetic resonance.
Project description:G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) comprise a large class of integral membrane proteins involved in the regulation of a broad spectrum of physiological processes and are a major target for pharmaceutical drug development. Structural studies can help advance the rational design of novel specific pharmaceuticals that target GPCRs, but such studies require expression of significant quantities of these proteins in pure, homogenous, and sufficiently stable form. An essential precursor for these structural studies is an assessment of protein stability under experimental conditions. Here we report that solubilization of a GPCR, type II cannabinoid receptor CB<sub>2</sub>, in a Façade detergent enables radioligand thermostability assessments of this receptor with low background from nonspecific interactions with lipophilic cannabinoid ligand. Furthermore, this detergent is compatible with a [<sup>35</sup>S]GTP?S radionucleotide exchange assay measuring guanine exchange factor activity that can be applied after heat treatment to further assess receptor thermostability. We demonstrate that both assays can be utilized to determine differences in CB<sub>2</sub> thermostability caused by mutations, detergent composition, and the presence of stabilizing ligands. We report that a constitutively active CB<sub>2</sub> variant has higher thermostability than the WT receptor, a result that differs from a previous thermostability assessment of the analogous CB<sub>1</sub> mutation. We conclude that both ligand-binding and activity-based assays under optimized detergent conditions can support selection of thermostable variants of experimentally demanding GPCRs.
Project description:Purified membrane proteins are ternary complexes consisting of protein, lipid, and detergent. Information about the amounts of detergent and endogenous phospholipid molecules bound to purified membrane proteins is largely lacking. In this systematic study, three model membrane proteins of different oligomeric states were purified in nine different detergents at commonly used concentrations and characterized biochemically and biophysically. Detergent-binding capacities and phospholipid contents of the model proteins were determined and compared. The insights on ternary complexes obtained from the experimental results, when put into a general context, are summarized as follows. 1), The amount of detergent and 2) the amount of endogenous phospholipids bound to purified membrane proteins are dependent on the size of the hydrophobic lipid-accessible protein surface areas and the physicochemical properties of the detergents used. 3), The size of the detergent and lipid belt surrounding the hydrophobic lipid-accessible surface of purified membrane proteins can be tuned by the appropriate choice of detergent. 4), The detergents n-nonyl-?-D-glucopyranoside and Cymal-5 have exceptional delipidating effects on ternary complexes. 5), The types of endogenous phospholipids bound to membrane proteins can vary depending on the detergent used for solubilization and purification. 6), Furthermore, we demonstrate that size-exclusion chromatography can be a suitable method for estimating the molecular mass of ternary complexes. The findings presented suggest a strategy to control and tune the numbers of detergent and endogenous phospholipid molecules bound to membrane proteins. These two parameters are potentially important for the successul crystallization of membrane proteins for structure determination by crystallographic approaches.
Project description:There are at least two types of cannabinoid receptors (CB(1) and CB(2)). Ligands activating these G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) include the phytocannabinoid ?(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, numerous synthetic compounds, and endogenous compounds known as endocannabinoids. Cannabinoid receptor antagonists have also been developed. Some of these ligands activate or block one type of cannabinoid receptor more potently than the other type. This review summarizes current data indicating the extent to which cannabinoid receptor ligands undergo orthosteric or allosteric interactions with non-CB(1), non-CB(2) established GPCRs, deorphanized receptors such as GPR55, ligand-gated ion channels, transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, and other ion channels or peroxisome proliferator-activated nuclear receptors. From these data, it is clear that some ligands that interact similarly with CB(1) and/or CB(2) receptors are likely to display significantly different pharmacological profiles. The review also lists some criteria that any novel "CB(3)" cannabinoid receptor or channel should fulfil and concludes that these criteria are not currently met by any non-CB(1), non-CB(2) pharmacological receptor or channel. However, it does identify certain pharmacological targets that should be investigated further as potential CB(3) receptors or channels. These include TRP vanilloid 1, which possibly functions as an ionotropic cannabinoid receptor under physiological and/or pathological conditions, and some deorphanized GPCRs. Also discussed are 1) the ability of CB(1) receptors to form heteromeric complexes with certain other GPCRs, 2) phylogenetic relationships that exist between CB(1)/CB(2) receptors and other GPCRs, 3) evidence for the existence of several as-yet-uncharacterized non-CB(1), non-CB(2) cannabinoid receptors; and 4) current cannabinoid receptor nomenclature.
Project description:Receptor internalization increases the flexibility and scope of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling. CB(1) and CB(2) cannabinoid receptors undergo internalization after sustained exposure to agonists. However, it is not known whether different agonists internalize CB(2) to different extents. Because CB(2) is a promising therapeutic target, understanding its trafficking in response to different agonists is necessary for a complete understanding of its biology. Here we profile a number of cannabinoid receptor ligands and provide evidence for marked functional selectivity of cannabinoid receptor internalization. Classic, aminoalkylindole, bicyclic, cannabilactone, iminothiazole cannabinoid, and endocannabinoid ligands varied greatly in their effects on CB(1) and CB(2) trafficking. Our most striking finding was that (R)-(+)-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-(4-morpholinylmethyl) pyrrolo-[1,2,3-d,e]-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl]-1-naphthalenyl-methanone (WIN55,212-2) (and other aminoalkylindoles) failed to promote CB(2) receptor internalization, whereas 5-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)-2-(5-hydroxy-2-(3-hydroxypropyl)cyclohexyl)phenol (CP55,940) robustly internalized CB(2) receptors. Furthermore, WIN55,212-2 competitively antagonized CP55,940-induced CB(2) internalization. Despite these differences in internalization, both compounds activated CB(2) receptors as measured by extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 phosphorylation and recruitment of ?-arrestin(2) to the membrane. In contrast, whereas CP55,940 inhibited voltage-gated calcium channels via CB(2) receptor activation, WIN55,212-2 was ineffective on its own and antagonized the effects of CP55,940. On the basis of the differences we found between these two ligands, we also tested the effects of other cannabinoids on these signaling pathways and found additional evidence for functional selectivity of CB(2) ligands. These novel data highlight that WIN55,212-2 and other cannabinoids show strong functional selectivity at CB(2) receptors and suggest that different classes of CB(2) ligands may produce diverse physiological effects, emphasizing that each class needs to be separately evaluated for therapeutic efficacy.
Project description:Stability of detergent-solubilized G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is crucial for their purification in a biologically relevant state, and it is well-known that short chain detergents such as octylglucoside are more denaturing than long chain detergents such as dodecylmaltoside. However, the molecular basis for this phenomenon is poorly understood. To gain insights into the mechanism of detergent destabilization of GPCRs, we used atomistic molecular dynamics simulations of thermostabilized adenosine receptor (A2AR) mutants embedded in either a lipid bilayer or detergent micelles of alkylmaltosides and alkylglucosides. A2AR mutants in dodecylmaltoside or phospholipid showed low flexibility and good interhelical packing. In contrast, A2AR mutants in either octylglucoside or nonylglucoside showed decreased ?-helicity in transmembrane regions, decreased ?-helical packing, and the interpenetration of detergent molecules between transmembrane ?-helices. This was not observed in octylglucoside containing phospholipid. Cholesteryl hemisuccinate in dodecylmaltoside increased the energetic stability of the receptor by wedging into crevices on the hydrophobic surface of A2AR, increasing packing interactions within the receptor and stiffening the detergent micelle. The data suggest a three-stage process for the initial events in the destabilization of GPCRs by octylglucoside: (i) highly mobile detergent molecules form small micelles around the receptor; (ii) loss of ?-helicity and decreased interhelical packing interactions in transmembrane regions are promoted by increased receptor thermal motion; (iii) transient separation of transmembrane helices allowed penetration of detergent molecules into the core of the receptor. The relative hydration of the headgroup and alkyl chain correlates with detergent harshness and suggests new avenues to develop milder versions of octylglucoside for receptor crystallization.
Project description:The recent cryo-electron microscopy structures of zebrafish and the human cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) provided unprecedented insights into putative mechanisms underlying gating of its anion channel activity. Interestingly, despite predictions based on channel activity measurements in biological membranes, the structure of the detergent purified, phosphorylated, and ATP-bound human CFTR protein did not reveal a stably open conduction pathway. This study tested the hypothesis that the functional properties of the detergent solubilized CFTR protein used for structural determinations are different from those exhibited by CFTR purified under conditions that retain associated lipids native to the membrane. It was found that CFTR purified together with phospholipids and cholesterol using amphipol: A8-35, exhibited higher rates of catalytic activity, phosphorylation dependent channel activation and potentiation by the therapeutic compound, ivacaftor, than did CFTR purified in detergent. The catalytic activity of phosphorylated CFTR detergent micelles was rescued by the addition of phospholipids plus cholesterol, but not by phospholipids alone, arguing for a specific role for cholesterol in modulating this function. In summary, these studies highlight the importance of lipid interactions in the intrinsic activities and pharmacological potentiation of CFTR.
Project description:This review evaluates the cellular mechanisms of constitutive activity of the cannabinoid (CB) receptors, its reversal by inverse agonists, and discusses the pitfalls and problems in the interpretation of the research data. The notion is presented that endogenously produced anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) serve as autocrine or paracrine stimulators of the CB receptors, giving the appearance of constitutive activity. It is proposed that one cannot interpret inverse agonist studies without inference to the receptors' environment vis-à-vis the endocannabinoid agonists which themselves are highly lipophilic compounds with a preference for membranes. The endocannabinoid tone is governed by a combination of synthetic pathways and inactivation involving transport and degradation. The synthesis and degradation of 2-AG is well characterized, and 2-AG has been strongly implicated in retrograde signalling in neurons. Data implicating endocannabinoids in paracrine regulation have been described. Endocannabinoid ligands can traverse the cell's interior and potentially be stored on fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs). Molecular modelling predicts that the endocannabinoids derived from membrane phospholipids can laterally diffuse to enter the CB receptor from the lipid bilayer. Considering that endocannabinoid signalling to CB receptors is a much more likely scenario than is receptor activation in the absence of agonist ligands, researchers are advised to refrain from assuming constitutive activity except for experimental models known to be devoid of endocannabinoid ligands.