Ligand-directed bias of G protein signaling at the dopamine D2 receptor

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G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent the largest family of drug targets. Upon activation, GPCRs signal primarily via a diverse set of heterotrimeric G proteins. Most GPCRs can couple to several different G protein subtypes. However, how drugs act at GPCRs contributing to the selectivity of G protein recognition is poorly understood. Here, we examined the G protein selectivity profile of the dopamine D2 receptor (D2), a GPCR targeted by antipsychotic drugs. We show that D2 discriminates between six individual members of the Gi/o family, and its profile of functional selectivity is remarkably different across its ligands, which all engaged D2 with a distinct G protein coupling pattern. Using structural modeling, receptor mutagenesis, and pharmacological evaluation, we identified residues in the D2 binding pocket that shape these ligand-directed biases. We further provide pharmacogenomic evidence that natural variants in D2 differentially affect its G protein biases in response to different ligands.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCell Chemical Biology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)226-238
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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