The viral G-protein coupled receptor (vGPCR) specified by human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) open reading frame 74 (ORF74) is a ligand-independent chemokine receptor that has structural and functional homologues among other characterized gammaherpesviruses and related receptors in the betaherpesviruses. Sequence comparisons of the gammaherpesvirus vGPCRs revealed a highly conserved region in the C tail, just distal to the seventh transmembrane domain. Mutagenesis of the corresponding codons of HHV-8 ORF74 was carried out to provide C-tail-altered proteins for functional analyses. By measuring receptor-activated vascular endothelial growth factor promoter induction and NF-κB, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and Ca2+ signaling, we found that while some altered receptors showed general signaling deficiencies, others had distinguishable activation profiles, suggestive of selective Gα protein coupling. This was supported by the finding that vGPCR and representative functionally altered variants, vGPCR.8 (R322W) and vGPCR.15 (M325S), were affected differently by inhibitors of Gα i (pertussis toxin), protein kinase C (GF109203X), and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (wortmannin). Consistent with the signaling data, [35S]GTPyS incorporation assays revealed preferential coupling of vGPCR.15 to Gαq and an inability of vGPCR.8 to couple functionally to Gαq. However, both variants, wild-type vGPCR, and a C-tail deletion version of the receptor were equally able to associate physically with Gαq. Combined, our data demonstrate that HHV-8 vGPCR contains discrete sites of Gα interaction and that receptor residues in the proximal region of the cytoplasmic tail are determinants of Gα protein coupling specificity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science