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Keywords:

  • G protein-coupled receptor;
  • endothelin receptors;
  • receptor C-terminus;
  • receptor heterodimerization;
  • ERK signaling

The dimerization of the G protein-coupled receptors for endothelin-1 (ET-1), endothelin A receptor (ETA) and endolethin B receptor (ETB), is well established. However, the signaling consequences of the homodimerization and heterodimerization of ETA and ETB is not well understood. Here, we demonstrate that peptides derived from the C-termini of these receptors regulate the signaling capacity of ET-1. The C-termini of the ETA and ETB receptors are believed to consist of three α-helices, which may serve as points of interaction between the receptors. The third α-helix in the C-terminus is of particular interest because of its amphipathic nature. In a cell line expressing only the ETA receptor, expression of residues Y430–S442, representing the third helix of the ETB C-terminus, leads to a dramatic increase in the signaling induced by ET-1. In contrast, in a cell line containing only ETB, Y430–S442 has an antagonistic effect, slightly reducing the ET-1 induced signal. Computational docking results suggest that the α-helical ETB-derived peptide binds to the second and third intracellular loops of the ETA receptor consistent with the alteration of its signaling capacity. Our results described here provide important insight into ETA/ETB receptor interactions and possibly a new approach to regulate specific G protein-coupled receptor signal transmission. Copyright © 2013 European Peptide Society and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.