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Journal Articles Journal of Biological Chemistry Year : 2022

Extracellular loop 2 of G protein-coupled olfactory receptors is critical for odorant recognition

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Abstract

G protein-coupled olfactory receptors (ORs) enable us to detect innumerous odorants. They are also ectopically expressed in non-olfactory tissues and emerging as attractive drug targets. ORs can be promiscuous or highly specific, which is part of a larger mechanism for odor discrimination. Here, we demonstrate that the OR extracellular loop 2 (ECL2) plays critical roles in OR promiscuity and specificity. Using site-directed mutagenesis and molecular modeling, we constructed 3D OR models in which ECL2 forms a lid over the orthosteric pocket. We demonstrate using molecular dynamics simulations that ECL2 controls the shape and the volume of the odorant-binding pocket, maintains the pocket hydrophobicity, and acts as a gatekeeper of odorant binding. Therefore, we propose the interplay between the specific orthosteric pocket and the variable, less specific ECL2 controls OR specificity and promiscuity. Furthermore, the 3D models created here enabled virtual screening of new OR agonists and antagonists, which exhibited a 70% hit rate in cell assays. Our approach can potentially be generalized to structure-based ligand screening for other GPCRs that lack high-resolution 3D structures.
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Dates and versions

hal-03749290 , version 1 (10-08-2022)

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Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Yiqun Yu, Zhenjie Ma, Jody Pacalon, Lun Xu, Weihao Li, et al.. Extracellular loop 2 of G protein-coupled olfactory receptors is critical for odorant recognition. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2022, 298 (9), pp.102331. ⟨10.1016/j.jbc.2022.102331⟩. ⟨hal-03749290⟩
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