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Mutant g-protein coupled receptors and methods for selecting them

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Mutant g-protein coupled receptors and methods for selecting them

The invention relates to mutant G-protein coupled receptors with increased conformational stability, and methods of use thereof. In some aspects, polynucleotides encoding the mutant G-protein coupled receptors are provided. In some aspects, host cells comprising the polynucleotides are provided. In some aspects, the invention relates to crystallized forms of the mutant G-protein coupled receptors, and methods of preparing the same.
Related Terms: G-protein

Browse recent Heptares Therapeutics Limited patents - Welwyn Garden City, GB
Inventors: Richard Henderson, Christopher Gordon Tate, Francesca Magnani, Maria Josefa Serrano-Vega, Yoko Shibata, Antony Johannes Wame, Malcolm Peter Weir
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120270230 - Class: 435 72 (USPTO) - 10/25/12 - Class 435 
Chemistry: Molecular Biology And Microbiology > Measuring Or Testing Process Involving Enzymes Or Micro-organisms; Composition Or Test Strip Therefore; Processes Of Forming Such Composition Or Test Strip >Involving Antigen-antibody Binding, Specific Binding Protein Assay Or Specific Ligand-receptor Binding Assay >Involving A Micro-organism Or Cell Membrane Bound Antigen Or Cell Membrane Bound Receptor Or Cell Membrane Bound Antibody Or Microbial Lysate

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120270230, Mutant g-protein coupled receptors and methods for selecting them.

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The present invention relates to mutant G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and methods for selecting those with increased stability. In particular, it relates to the selection and preparation of mutant GPCRs which have increased stability under a particular condition compared to their respective parent proteins. Such proteins are more likely to be crystallisable, and hence amenable to structure determination, than the parent proteins. They are also useful for drug discovery and development studies.

Over the past 20 years the rate of determination of membrane protein structures has gradually increased, but most success has been in crystallising membrane proteins from bacteria rather than from eukaryotes [1]. Bacterial membrane proteins have been easier to overexpress using standard techniques in Escherichia coli than eukaryotic membrane proteins [2,3] and the bacterial proteins are sometimes far more stable in detergent, detergent-stability being an essential prerequisite to purification and crystallisation. Genome sequencing projects have also allowed the cloning and expression of many homologues of a specific transporter or ion channel, which also greatly improves the chances of success during crystallisation. However, out of the 120 different membrane protein structures that have been solved to date, there are only seven structures of mammalian integral membrane proteins (http:/; five of these membrane proteins were purified from natural sources and are stable in detergent solutions. Apart from the difficulties in overexpressing eukaryotic membrane proteins, they often have poor stability in detergent solutions, which severely restricts the range of crystallisation conditions that can be explored without their immediate denaturation or precipitation. Ideally, membrane proteins should be stable for many days in any given detergent solution, but the detergents that are best suited to growing diffraction-quality crystals tend to be the most destabilising detergents ie those with short aliphatic chains and small or charged head groups. It is also the structures of human membrane proteins that we would like to solve, because these are required to help the development of therapeutic agents by the pharmaceutical industry; often there are substantial differences in the pharmacology of receptors, channels and transporters from different mammals, whilst yeast and bacterial genomes may not include any homologous proteins. There is thus an overwhelming need to develop a generic strategy that will allow the production of detergent-stable eukaryotic integral membrane proteins for crystallisation and structure determination and potentially for other purposes such as drug screening, bioassay and biosensor applications.

Membrane proteins have evolved to be sufficiently stable in the membrane to ensure cell viability, but they have not evolved to be stable in detergent solution, suggesting that membrane proteins could be artificially evolved and detergent-stable mutants isolated [4]. This was subsequently demonstrated for two bacterial proteins, diacylglycerol kinase (DGK) [5,6] and bacteriorhodopsin [7]. Random mutagenesis of DGK identified specific point mutations that increased thermostability and, when combined, the effect was additive so that the optimally stable mutant had a half-life of 35 minutes at 80° C. compared with a half-life of 6 minutes at 55° C. for the native protein. [6]. It was shown that the timer of the detergent-resistant DGK mutant had become stable in SDS and it is thus likely that stabilisation of the oligomeric state played a significant role in thermostabilisation. Although the aim of the mutagenesis was to produce a membrane protein suitable for crystallisation, the structure of DGK has yet to be determined and there have been no reports of successful crystallization. A further study on bacteriorhodopsin by cysteine-scanning mutagenesis along helix B demonstrated that it was not possible to predict which amino acid residues would lead to thermostability upon mutation nor, when studied in the context of the structure, was it clear why thermostabilisation had occurred [7].

GPCRs constitute a very large family of proteins that control many physiological processes and are the targets of many effective drugs. Thus, they are of considerable pharmacological importance. A list of GPCRs is given in Foord et al (2005) Pharmacol Rev. 57, 279-288, which is incorporated herein by reference. GPCRs are generally unstable when isolated, and despite considerable efforts, it has not been possible to crystallise any except bovine rhodopsin, which naturally is exceptionally stable.

GPCRs are druggable targets, and reference is made particularly to Overington et al (2006) Nature Rev. Drug Discovery 5, 993-996 which indicates that over a quarter of present drugs have a GPCR as a target.

GPCRs are thought to exist in multiple distinct conformations which are associated with different pharmacological classes of ligand such as agonists and antagonists, and to cycle between these conformations in order to function (Kenakin T. (1997) Ann N Y Acad Sci 812, 116-125).

It will be appreciated that the methods of the invention do not include a method as described in D\'Antona et al., including binding of [3H]CP55940 to a constitutively inactive mutant human cannabinoid receptor 1 (T210A) in which the Thr residue at position 210 is replaced with an Ala residue.

The listing or discussion of an apparently prior-published document in this specification should not necessarily be taken as an acknowledgement that the document is part of the state of the art or is common general knowledge.

We have realised that there are two serious problems associated with trying to crystallise GPCRs, namely their lack of stability in detergent and the fact that they exist in multiple conformations. In order to function GPCRs have evolved to cycle through at least two distinct conformations, the agonist bound form and the antagonist-bound form, and changes between these two conformations can occur spontaneously in the absence of ligand. It is thus likely that any purified receptors populate a mixture of conformations. Just adding ligands to GPCRs during crystallisation trials has not resulted in their structure determination. To improve the likelihood of crystallisation, we therefore selected mutations that improved the stability of the GPCR and, in addition, preferentially locked the receptor in a specific biologically relevant conformation.

We decided to see whether stabilisation of a GPCR in a particular, biologically relevant conformation was possible and whether the effect was sufficiently great that it would significantly improve the chances of obtaining diffraction-quality crystals. In Example 1, the β1-adrenergic receptor (βAR) from turkey erythrocytes [8] was chosen as a test subject for this study for a number of reasons. The βAR is a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that has well-developed pharmacology with many ligands commercially available and in a radiolabelled form. In addition, overexpression of βAR has been particularly successful using the baculovirus expression system and it can be purified in milligram quantities in a functional form. [9]. In Example 2, a human adenosine receptor was used, and in Example 3, a rat neurotensin receptor was used.

Method for Selecting Mutant GPCRs with Increased Stability

A first aspect of the invention provides a method for selecting a mutant G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) with increased stability, the method comprising (a) providing one or more mutants of a parent GPCR, (b) selecting a ligand, the ligand being one which binds to the parent GPCR when the GPCR is residing in a particular conformation, (c) determining whether the or each mutant GPCR has increased stability with respect to binding the selected ligand compared to the stability of the parent GPCR with respect to binding that ligand, and (d) selecting those mutants that have an increased stability compared to the parent GPCR with respect to binding of the selected ligand.

The inventors have appreciated that, in order to improve the likelihood of crystallisation of a GPCR in a biologically relevant form (which is therefore pharmacologically useful), it is desirable not only to increase the stability of the protein, but also for the protein to have this increased stability when in a particular conformation. The conformation is determined by a selected ligand, and is a biologically relevant conformation in particular a pharmacologically relevant conformation. Thus, the method of the invention may be considered to be a method for selecting mutants of a GPCR which have increased stability of a Particular conformation, for example they may have increased conformational thermostability. The method may be used to create stable, conformationally locked GPCRs by mutagenesis. The selected mutant GPCRs are effectively purer forms of the parent molecules in that a much higher proportion of them occupies a particular conformational state. The deliberate selection of a chosen receptor conformation resolved from other conformations by use of a ligand (or ligands) that bind preferentially to this conformation is therefore an important feature of the invention. The method may also be considered to be a method for selecting mutant GPCRs which are more tractable to crystallisation.

Thus the invention includes a method for selecting a mutant G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) with increased stability, the method comprising

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120270230 A1
Publish Date
Document #
File Date
Other USPTO Classes
530350, 536 235, 43525233, 436501, 435/78, 530402, 4352523, 43525421, 43525423, 435348, 435361, 435369, 435365, 435352, 435349, 530412
International Class


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