The highly conserved Arg in the so-called DRY motif (Asp-Arg-Tyr) at the intracellular end of transmembrane helix 3 is in general considered as an essential residue for G protein coupling in rhodopsin-like seven transmembrane (7TM) receptors. In the open reading frame 74 (ORF74) receptor encoded by equine herpesvirus 2 (EHV2), the DRY motif is substituted with a DTW motif. Nevertheless, this receptor signaled with high constitutive activity through Gi as determined by a receptor-mediated inhibition of forskolin-induced cAMP-production and by an induction of the serum response element-driven transcriptional activity through a pertussis toxin-sensitive manner. Gs and Gq were not activated constitutively as determined by the lack of inositol phosphate turnover and activities of the three transcription factors: cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), nuclear factor-kappaB, and nuclear factor of activated T cells. Coexpression of the ORF74-EHV2 receptor with the promiscuous G protein Gqi4myr supported the constitutive Gi activation as determined by inositol phosphate turnover and CREB activation. The constitutive activity was inhibited by nonpeptide inverse agonists with micromolar potencies, and the chemokine CXCL6 acted as a high-affinity agonist. It is noteworthy that reconstitution of the DRY motif resulted in a 4- to 5-fold decrease of the constitutive activity. Both the wild type and the receptor with the reconstituted DRY motif were expressed at the cell surface as indicated by immunohistochemistry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analysis. It is concluded that the Arg of the DRY motif in transmembrane helix 3 is not essential for G protein coupling based on the constitutive as well as the ligand-mediated activity observed for ORF74-EHV2.
Keywords: Amino Acid Motifs; Amino Acid Sequence; Animals; Arginine; Aspartic Acid; COS Cells; Cell Membrane; Cercopithecus aethiops; Conserved Sequence; Dose-Response Relationship, Drug; Humans; Molecular Sequence Data; Protein Structure, Secondary; Receptors, Chemokine; Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled; Rhadinovirus; Tyrosine