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Single-molecule imaging reveals receptor-G protein interactions at cell surface hot spots

Authors

  • T. Sungkaworn
  • M.L. Jobin
  • K. Burnecki
  • A. Weron
  • M.J. Lohse
  • D. Calebiro

Journal

  • Nature

Citation

  • Nature 550 (7677): 543-547

Abstract

  • G-protein-coupled receptors mediate the biological effects of many hormones and neurotransmitters and are important pharmacological targets. They transmit their signals to the cell interior by interacting with G proteins. However, it is unclear how receptors and G proteins meet, interact and couple. Here we analyse the concerted motion of G-protein-coupled receptors and G proteins on the plasma membrane and provide a quantitative model that reveals the key factors that underlie the high spatiotemporal complexity of their interactions. Using two-colour, single-molecule imaging we visualize interactions between individual receptors and G proteins at the surface of living cells. Under basal conditions, receptors and G proteins form activity-dependent complexes that last for around one second. Agonists specifically regulate the kinetics of receptor-G protein interactions, mainly by increasing their association rate. We find hot spots on the plasma membrane, at least partially defined by the cytoskeleton and clathrin-coated pits, in which receptors and G proteins are confined and preferentially couple. Imaging with the nanobody Nb37 suggests that signalling by G-protein-coupled receptors occurs preferentially at these hot spots. These findings shed new light on the dynamic interactions that control G-protein-coupled receptor signalling.


DOI

doi:10.1038/nature24264