Allosteric Coupling of Drug Binding and Intracellular Signaling in the A2A Adenosine Receptor

Cell. 2018 Jan 11;172(1-2):68-80.e12. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.12.004. Epub 2017 Dec 28.


Signaling across cellular membranes, the 826 human G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) govern a wide range of vital physiological processes, making GPCRs prominent drug targets. X-ray crystallography provided GPCR molecular architectures, which also revealed the need for additional structural dynamics data to support drug development. Here, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy with the wild-type-like A2A adenosine receptor (A2AAR) in solution provides a comprehensive characterization of signaling-related structural dynamics. All six tryptophan indole and eight glycine backbone 15N-1H NMR signals in A2AAR were individually assigned. These NMR probes provided insight into the role of Asp522.50 as an allosteric link between the orthosteric drug binding site and the intracellular signaling surface, revealing strong interactions with the toggle switch Trp 2466.48, and delineated the structural response to variable efficacy of bound drugs across A2AAR. The present data support GPCR signaling based on dynamic interactions between two semi-independent subdomains connected by an allosteric switch at Asp522.50.

Keywords: G protein-coupled receptor; GPCR; NMR; allosteric modulation; membrane protein; nuclear magnetic resonance; signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine A2 Receptor Agonists / chemistry
  • Adenosine A2 Receptor Agonists / pharmacology
  • Allosteric Regulation*
  • Allosteric Site
  • Animals
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Pichia
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptor, Adenosine A2A / chemistry*
  • Receptor, Adenosine A2A / metabolism
  • Sf9 Cells
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Spodoptera


  • Adenosine A2 Receptor Agonists
  • Receptor, Adenosine A2A