© 2018 Franco et al. Background: G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) heteromeric complexes have distinct properties from homomeric GPCRs, giving rise to new receptor functionalities. Adenosine receptors (A 1 R or A 2A R) can form A 1 R-A 2A R heteromers (A 1 -A 2A Het), and their activation leads to canonical G-protein-dependent (adenylate cyclase mediated) and -independent (β-arrestin mediated) signaling. Adenosine has different affinities for A 1 R and A 2A R, allowing the heteromeric receptor to detect its concentration by integrating the downstream G i - and G s -dependent signals. cAMP accumulation and β-arrestin recruitment assays have shown that, within the complex, activation of A 2A R impedes signaling via A 1 R. Results: We examined the mechanism by which A 1 -A 2A Het integrates G i - and G s -dependent signals. A 1 R blockade by A 2A R in the A 1 -A 2A Het is not observed in the absence of A 2A R activation by agonists, in the absence of the C-terminal domain of A 2A R, or in the presence of synthetic peptides that disrupt the heteromer interface of A 1 -A 2A Het, indicating that signaling mediated by A 1 R and A 2A R is controlled by both G i and G s proteins. Conclusions: We identified a new mechanism of signal transduction that implies a cross-communication between G i and G s proteins guided by the C-terminal tail of the A 2A R. This mechanism provides the molecular basis for the operation of the A 1 -A 2A Het as an adenosine concentration-sensing device that modulates the signals originating at both A 1 R and A 2A R.
- C-terminal domain
- Molecular modeling