GPCRs undergo large conformational changes during their activation. Starting from existing X-ray structures, we used Normal Modes Analyses to study the collective motions of the agonist-bound β2-adrenergic receptor both in its isolated "uncoupled" and G-protein "coupled" conformations. We interestingly observed that the receptor was able to adopt only one major motion in the protein:protein complex. This motion corresponded to an anti-symmetric rotation of both its extra- and intra-cellular parts, with a key role of previously identified highly conserved proline residues. Because this motion was also retrieved when performing NMA on 7 other GPCRs which structures were available, it is strongly suspected to possess a significant biological role, possibly being the "activation mode" of a GPCR when coupled to G-proteins.
Keywords: Activation mechanism; G-protein Coupled Receptor; G-protein heterotrimer complex; MRMS; Mass-weighted Root Mean Square; Normal Mode Analysis; Unique motion.
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