Molecular evolution of the mammalian alpha 2B adrenergic receptor

Mol Biol Evol. 2002 Dec;19(12):2150-60. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a004040.


The alpha 2B adrenergic receptor (A2AB) is a heptahelical G protein-coupled receptor for catecholamines. We compared the almost complete coding region (about 1,175 bp) of the A2AB gene from 48 mammalian species, including eight newly determined sequences, representing all the 18 eutherian and two marsupial orders. Comparison of the encoded proteins reveals that residues thought to be involved in agonist binding are highly conserved, as are the regions playing a role in G protein-coupling. The three extracellular loops are generally more variable than the transmembrane domains and two of the intracellular loops, indicating a lower functional constraint. However, the greatest variation is observed in the very long, third intracellular loop, where only a few residues and a polyglutamyl tract are preserved. Although this polyglutamyl domain displays a great variation in length, its presence in all described A2ABs confirms its proposed role in agonist-dependent phosphorylation of the third intracellular loop. Phylogenetic analyses of the A2AB data set, including Bayesian methods, recognized the superordinal clades Afrotheria, Laurasiatheria, and Euarchontoglires, in agreement with recent molecular evidence, albeit with lower support. Within Afrotheria, A2AB strongly supports the paenungulate clade and the association of the continental African otter shrew with Malagasy tenrecs. Among Laurasiatheria, A2AB confirms the nesting of whales within the artiodactyls, as a sister group to hippopotamus. Within the Euarchontoglires, there is constant support for rodent monophyly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-2 / chemistry
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-2 / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • ADRA2B protein, human
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-2