Structural insights into the ligand binding domains of membrane bound guanylyl cyclases and natriuretic peptide receptors

J Mol Biol. 2001 Aug 31;311(5):923-37. doi: 10.1006/jmbi.2001.4922.


Membrane bound guanylyl cyclases are single chain transmembrane receptors that produce the second messenger cGMP by either intra- or extracellular stimuli. This class of type I receptors contain an intracellular catalytic guanylyl cyclase domain, an adjacent kinase-like domain and an extracellular ligand binding domain though some receptors have their ligands yet to be identified. The most studied member is the atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) receptor, which is involved in blood pressure regulation. Extracellular ANP binding induces a conformational change thereby activating the pre-oligomerized receptor leading to the production of cGMP. The recent crystal structure of the dimerized hormone binding domain of the ANP receptor provides a first three-dimensional view of this domain and can serve as a basis to structurally analyze mutagenesis, cross-linking, and genetic studies of this class of receptors as well as a non-catalytic homolog, the clearance receptor. The fold of the ligand binding domain is that of a bilobal periplasmic binding protein (PBP) very similar to that of the Leu/Ile/Val binding protein, AmiC, multi-domain transmembrane metabotropic glutamate receptors, and several DNA binding proteins such as the lactose repressor. Unlike these structural homologs, the guanylyl cyclase receptors bind much larger molecules at a site seemingly remote from the usual small molecule binding site in periplasmic binding protein folds. Detailed comparisons with these structural homologs offer insights into mechanisms of signal transduction and allosteric regulation, and into the remarkable usage of the periplasmic binding protein fold in multi-domain receptors/proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Site
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Chlorides / metabolism
  • Dimerization
  • Guanylate Cyclase / chemistry*
  • Guanylate Cyclase / genetics
  • Guanylate Cyclase / metabolism*
  • Hormones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptors, Atrial Natriuretic Factor / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Atrial Natriuretic Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Atrial Natriuretic Factor / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Chlorides
  • Hormones
  • Ligands
  • Guanylate Cyclase
  • Receptors, Atrial Natriuretic Factor