The rat adenine receptor: pharmacological characterization and mutagenesis studies to investigate its putative ligand binding site

Purinergic Signal. 2013 Sep;9(3):367-81. doi: 10.1007/s11302-013-9355-6. Epub 2013 Feb 15.


The rat adenine receptor (rAdeR) was the first member of a family of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) activated by adenine and designated as P0-purine receptors. The present study aimed at gaining insights into structural aspects of ligand binding and function of the rAdeR. We exchanged amino acid residues predicted to be involved in ligand binding (Phe110(3.24), Asn115(3.29), Asn173(4.60), Phe179(45.39), Asn194(5.40), Phe195(5.41), Leu201(5.47), His252(6.54), and Tyr268(7.32)) for alanine and expressed them in Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) insect cells. Membrane preparations subjected to [(3)H]adenine binding studies revealed only minor effects indicating that none of the exchanged amino acids is part of the ligand binding pocket, at least in the inactive state of the receptor. Furthermore, we coexpressed the rAdeR and its mutants with mammalian Gi proteins in Sf9 insect cells to probe receptor activation. Two amino acid residues, Asn194(5.40) and Leu201(5.47), were found to be crucial for activation since their alanine mutants did not respond to adenine. Moreover we showed that-in contrast to most other rhodopsin-like GPCRs-the rAdeR does not contain essential disulfide bonds since preincubation with dithiothreitol neither altered adenine binding in Sf9 cell membranes, nor adenine-induced inhibition of adenylate cyclase in 1321N1 astrocytoma cells transfected with the rAdeR. To detect rAdeRs by Western blot analysis, we developed a specific antibody. Finally, we were able to show that the extended N-terminal sequence of the rAdeR constitutes a putative signal peptide of unknown function that is cleaved off in the mature receptor. Our results provide important insights into this new, poorly investigated family of purinergic receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Blotting, Western
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Purinergic / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Purinergic / metabolism*


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Purinergic
  • adenine receptor, rat