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N-linked glycosylation of protease-activated receptor-1 at extracellular loop 2 regulates G-protein signaling bias


Protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR1) is a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) for the coagulant protease thrombin. Similar to other GPCRs, PAR1 is promiscuous and couples to multiple heterotrimeric G-protein subtypes in the same cell and promotes diverse cellular responses. The molecular mechanism by which activation of a given GPCR with the same ligand permits coupling to multiple G-protein subtypes is unclear. Here, we report that N-linked glycosylation of PAR1 at extracellular loop 2 (ECL2) controls G12/13 versus Gq coupling specificity in response to thrombin stimulation. A PAR1 mutant deficient in glycosylation at ECL2 was more effective at stimulating Gq-mediated phosphoinositide signaling compared with glycosylated wildtype receptor. In contrast, wildtype PAR1 displayed a greater efficacy at G12/13-dependent RhoA activation compared with mutant receptor lacking glycosylation at ECL2. Endogenous PAR1 rendered deficient in glycosylation using tunicamycin, a glycoprotein synthesis inhibitor, also exhibited increased PI signaling and diminished RhoA activation opposite to native receptor. Remarkably, PAR1 wildtype and glycosylation-deficient mutant were equally effective at coupling to Gi and β-arrestin-1. Consistent with preferential G12/13 coupling, thrombin-stimulated PAR1 wildtype strongly induced RhoA-mediated stress fiber formation compared with mutant receptor. In striking contrast, glycosylation-deficient PAR1 was more effective at increasing cellular proliferation, associated with Gq signaling, than wildtype receptor. These studies suggest that N-linked glycosylation at ECL2 contributes to the stabilization of an active PAR1 state that preferentially couples to G12/13 versus Gq and defines a previously unidentified function for N-linked glycosylation of GPCRs in regulating G-protein signaling bias.

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