G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest family of signaling proteins expressed in every cell in the body and are targeted by the majority of clinically used drugs . GPCR signaling, including rhodopsin-driven phototransduction, is terminated by receptor phosphorylation followed by arrestin binding . Genetic defects in receptor phosphorylation and excessive signaling by overactive GPCR mutants result in a wide variety of diseases, from retinal degeneration to cancer [3-6]. Here, we tested whether arrestin1 mutants with enhanced ability to bind active unphosphorylated rhodopsin [7-10] can suppress uncontrolled signaling, bypassing receptor phosphorylation by rhodopsin kinase (RK) and replacing this two-step mechanism with a single-step deactivation in rod photoreceptors. We show that in this precisely timed signaling system with single-photon sensitivity , an enhanced arrestin1 mutant partially compensates for defects in rhodopsin phosphorylation, promoting photoreceptor survival, improving functional performance, and facilitating photoresponse recovery. These proof-of-principle experiments demonstrate the feasibility of functional compensation in vivo for the first time, which is a promising approach for correcting genetic defects associated with gain-of-function mutations. Successful modification of protein-protein interactions by appropriate mutations paves the way to targeted redesign of signaling pathways to achieve desired functional outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)