Single Molecule Analysis of Functionally Asymmetric GPCR Oligomers reveals Diverse Spatial and Structural Assemblies [Signal Transduction]

December 16th, 2014 by Jonas, K. C., Fanelli, F., Huhtaniemi, I. T., Hanyaloglu, A. C.

Formation of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in to dimers and higher order oligomers represents a key mechanism in pleiotropic signaling, yet how individual protomers function within oligomers remains poorly understood. We present a super-resolution imaging approach, resolving single GPCR molecules to 8nm resolution in functional asymmetric dimers and oligomers using dual-color photoactivatable dyes and localization microscopy (PD-PALM). PD-PALM of two functionally defined mutant luteinizing hormone receptors (LHRs), a ligand-binding deficient receptor (LHRB-) and a signaling deficient (LHRS-) receptor, which only function via intermolecular cooperation, favored oligomeric over dimeric formation. PD-PALM imaging of trimers and tetramers revealed specific spatial organizations of individual protomers in complexes where the ratiometric composition of LHRB- to LHRS- modulated ligand-induced signal sensitivity. Structural modeling of asymmetric LHR oligomers strongly aligned with PD-PALM imaged spatial arrangements, identifying multiple possible helix interfaces mediating inter-protomer associations. Our findings reveal that diverse spatial and structural assemblies mediating GPCR oligomerization may acutely fine-tune the cellular signaling profile.