G protein-coupled receptors can adopt many different conformational states, each of them exhibiting different restraints towards downstream signaling pathways. One promising strategy to identify and quantify this conformational landscape is to introduce a cysteine at a receptor site sensitive to different states and label this cysteine with a probe for detection. Here, the application of NMR of hyperpolarized 129Xe for the detection of the conformational states of human neuropeptide Y2 receptor is introduced. The xenon trapping cage molecule cryptophane-A attached to a cysteine in extracellular loop 2 of the receptor facilitates chemical exchange saturation transfer experiments without and in the presence of native ligand neuropeptide Y. High-quality spectra indicative of structural states of the receptor-cage conjugate were obtained. Specifically, five signals could be assigned to the conjugate in the apo form. After the addition of NPY, one additional signal and subtle modifications in the persisting signals could be detected. The correlation of the spectroscopic signals and structural states was achieved with molecular dynamics simulations, suggesting frequent contact between the xenon trapping cage and the receptor surface but a preferred interaction with the bound ligand.
Keywords: GPCR states; MD simulation; NMR; Y2R; hyperpolarized xenon.