Receptor Quaternary Organization Explains G Protein-Coupled Receptor Family Structure.

10 May 2018

The organization of Rhodopsin-family G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) at the cell surface is controversial. Support both for and against the existence of dimers has been obtained in studies of mostly individual receptors. Here, we use a large-scale comparative study to examine the stoichiometric signatures of 60 receptors expressed by a single human cell line. Using bioluminescence resonance energy transfer- and single-molecule microscopy-based assays, we found that a relatively small fraction of Rhodopsin-family GPCRs behaved as dimers and that these receptors otherwise appear to be monomeric. Overall, the analysis predicted that fewer than 20% of ∼700 Rhodopsin-family receptors form dimers. The clustered distribution of the dimers in our sample and a striking correlation between receptor organization and GPCR family size that we also uncover each suggest that receptor stoichiometry might have profoundly influenced GPCR expansion and diversification.