alexa Oxytocin receptors: ligand binding, signalling and cholesterol dependence.
Cardiology

Cardiology

Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology

Author(s): Gimpl G, Reitz J, Brauer S, Trossen C

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Abstract The G protein coupled oxytocin receptor (OTR) reveals some specific molecular and physiological characteristics. Ligand-receptor interaction has been analysed by photoaffinity labelling, site-directed mutagenesis, the construction of receptor chimeras and molecular modelling. Major results of these studies will be summarized. The N-terminus of the OTR is mainly involved in agonist binding. Notably, antagonists that are derived from the ground structure of oxytocin, bind the receptor at distinct sites partly non-overlapping with the agonist binding site. OTRs are able to couple to different G proteins, with a subsequent stimulation of phospholipase C-beta isoforms. In dependence on G protein coupling, OTRs can transduce growth-inhibitory or proliferatory signals. Some evidence is provided that OTRs are also present in form of dimeric or oligomeric complexes at the cell surface. The affinity of the receptor for ligands is strongly dependent on the presence of divalent cations (Mg(2+)) and cholesterol that both act like positive allosteric modulators. While the high-affinity state of the receptor for agonists requires divalent cations and cholesterol, the high-affinity state for antagonists is only dependent on a sufficient amount of cholesterol. Cholesterol affects ligand-binding affinity, receptor signalling and stability. Since the purification of the OTR has never been achieved, alternative methods to study the receptor in its native environment are necessary. Promising strategies for the site-specific labelling of the OTR will be presented. The employment of diverse reporter molecules introduced at different positions within the OTR might allow us in the near future to measure conformational changes of the receptor in its native lipid environment. This article was published in Prog Brain Res and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology

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