Structural Basis for Ligand Recognition and Functional Selectivity at Angiotensin Receptor

J Biol Chem. 2015 Dec 4;290(49):29127-39. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M115.689000. Epub 2015 Sep 29.


Angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) is the primary blood pressure regulator. AT1R blockers (ARBs) have been widely used in clinical settings as anti-hypertensive drugs and share a similar chemical scaffold, although even minor variations can lead to distinct therapeutic efficacies toward cardiovascular etiologies. The structural basis for AT1R modulation by different peptide and non-peptide ligands has remained elusive. Here, we report the crystal structure of the human AT1R in complex with an inverse agonist olmesartan (Benicar(TM)), a highly potent anti-hypertensive drug. Olmesartan is anchored to the receptor primarily by the residues Tyr-35(1.39), Trp-84(2.60), and Arg-167(ECL2), similar to the antagonist ZD7155, corroborating a common binding mode of different ARBs. Using docking simulations and site-directed mutagenesis, we identified specific interactions between AT1R and different ARBs, including olmesartan derivatives with inverse agonist, neutral antagonist, or agonist activities. We further observed that the mutation N111(3.35)A in the putative sodium-binding site affects binding of the endogenous peptide agonist angiotensin II but not the β-arrestin-biased peptide TRV120027.

Keywords: G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR); angiotensin; biased ligands; crystal structure; hypertension; protein-drug interaction; sodium ion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Site
  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / chemistry*
  • Binding, Competitive
  • COS Cells
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Computer Simulation
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / chemistry*
  • Ions
  • Ligands
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Mutation
  • Oligopeptides / chemistry
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / chemistry*
  • Sf9 Cells
  • Sodium / chemistry
  • Tetrazoles / chemistry*


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Imidazoles
  • Ions
  • Ligands
  • Oligopeptides
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1
  • Tetrazoles
  • olmesartan
  • Sodium
  • Sar-Arg-Val-Tyr-Ile-His-Pro-Ala-OH

Associated data

  • PDB/4YAY