Environment and mobility of a series of fluorescent reporters at the amino terminus of structurally related peptide agonists and antagonists bound to the cholecystokinin receptor

  • Harikumar K
  • Pinon D
  • Wessels W
 et al. 
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Fluorescence is a powerful biophysical tool for the analysis of the structure and dynamics of proteins. Here, we have developed two series of new fluorescent probes of the cholecystokinin (CCK) receptor, representing structurally related peptide agonists and antagonists. Each ligand had one of three distinct fluorophores (Alexa(488), nitrobenzoxadiazolyl, or acrylodan) incorporated in analogous positions at the amino terminus just outside the hormone's pharmacophore. All of the probes bound to the CCK receptor specifically and with high affinity, and intracellular calcium signaling studies showed the chemically modified peptides to be fully biologically active. Quenching by iodide and measurement of fluorescence spectra, anisotropy, and lifetimes were used to characterize the response of the fluorescence of the probe in the peptide-receptor complex for agonists and antagonists. All three fluorescence indicators provided the same insights into differences in the environment of the same indicator in the analogous position for agonist and antagonist peptides bound to the CCK receptor. Each agonist had its fluorescence quenched more easily and showed lower anisotropy (higher mobility of the probe) and shorter lifetime than the analogous antagonist. Treatment of agonist-occupied receptors with a non-hydrolyzable GTP analogue shifted the receptor into its inactive low affinity state and increased probe fluorescence lifetimes toward values observed with antagonist probes. These data are consistent with a molecular conformational change associated with receptor activation that causes the amino terminus of the ligand (situated above transmembrane segment six) to move away from its somewhat protected environment and toward the aqueous milieu.

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  • Kaleeckal G. Harikumar

  • Delia I. Pinon

  • William S. Wessels

  • Franklyn G. Prendergast

  • Laurence J. Miller

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