Dimerization of the calcium-sensing receptor occurs within the extracellular domain and is eliminated by Cys → Ser mutations at Cys101 and Cys236

Amy J. Pace, Lucio Gama, Gerda E. Breitwieser

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99 Scopus citations


Calcium-sensing receptors are present in membranes as dimers that can be reduced to monomers with sufhydryl reagents. All studies were carried out on the human calcium-sensing receptor tagged at the carboxyl terminus with green fluorescent protein (hCaR-GFP) to permit identification and localization of expressed proteins. Truncations containing either the extracellular agonist binding domain plus transmembrane helix 1 (ECD/TMH1-GFP) or the transmembrane domain plus the intracellular carboxyl terminus (TMD/carboxyl terminus-GFP) were used to identify the dimerization domain. ECD/TMH1-GFP was a dimer in the absence of reducing reagents, whereas TMD/carboxyl-terminal GFP was a monomer in the absence or presence of reducing agents, suggesting that dimerization occurs via the ECD. To identify the residue(s) involved in dimerization within the ECD, cysteine → serine point mutations were made in residues that are conserved between hCaR and metabotropic glutamate receptors. Mutations at positions 60 and 131 were expressed at levels comparable to wild type in HEK 293 cells, had minimal effects on hCaR function, and did not eliminate dimerization, whereas mutations at positions 101 and 236 greatly decreased receptor expression and resulted in significant amounts of monomer in the absence of reducing agents. The double point mutant hCaR(C101S/C236S)-GFP was expressed more robustly than either C101S or C236S and covalent dimerization was eliminated, hCaR(C101S/C236S)-GFP had a decreased affinity for extracellular Ca2+ and slower response kinetics upon increases or decreases in agonist concentration. These results suggest that covalent, disulfide bond-mediated dimerization of the calcium-sensing receptor contributes to stabilization of the ECD and to acceleration of the transitions between inactive and active receptor conformations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11629-11634
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 23 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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