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    Opsins comprise the protein component of light sensitive G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in the retina of the eye that are responsible for the transduction of light into a biochemical signal. Here, we used hydrogen/deuterium (H/D) exchange coupled with mass spectrometry to map conformational changes in green cone opsin upon light activation. We then compared these findings with those reported for rhodopsin. The extent of H/D exchange in green cone opsin was greater than in rhodopsin in the dark and bleached states, suggesting a higher structural heterogeneity for green cone opsin. Further analysis revealed that green cone opsin exists as a dimer in both dark (inactive) and bleached (active) states, and that the predicted glycosylation sites at N32 and N34 are indeed glycosylated. Comparison of deuterium uptake between inactive and active states of green cone opsin also disclosed a reduced solvent accessibility of the extracellular N-terminal region and an increased accessibility of the chromophore binding site. Increased H/D exchange at the extracellular side of transmembrane helix four (TM4) combined with an analysis of sequence alignments revealed a conserved Pro-Pro motif in extracellular loop 2 (EL2) of monostable visual GPCRs. These data present new insights into the locus of chromophore release at the extracellular side of TM4 and TM5 and provide a foundation for future functional evaluation.


    Lukas Hofmann, Nathan S Alexander, Wenyu Sun, Jianye Zhang, Tivadar Orban, Krzysztof Palczewski. Hydrogen/Deuterium Exchange Mass Spectrometry of Human Green Opsin Reveals a Conserved Pro-Pro Motif in Extracellular Loop 2 of Monostable Visual G Protein-Coupled Receptors. Biochemistry. 2017 May 02;56(17):2338-2348

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    PMID: 28402104

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