Whether G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) exist in plants is a fundamental biological question. Interest in deorphanizing new GPCRs arises because of their importance in signaling. Within plants, this is controversial, as genome analysis has identified 56 putative GPCRs, includingGprotein-coupled receptor1 (GCR1), which is reportedly a remote homolog to class A, B, and E GPCRs. Of these, GCR2 is not a GPCR; more recently, it has been proposed that none are, not even GCR1. We have addressed this disparity between genome analysis and biological evidence through a structural bioinformatics study, involving fold recognition methods, from which only GCR1 emerges as a strong candidate. To further probe GCR1, we have developed a novel helix-alignment method, which has been benchmarked against the class A-class B-class F GPCR alignments. In addition, we have presented a mutually consistent set of alignments ofGCR1 homologs to class A, class B, and class FGPCRs and shownthatGCR1 is closer to classAand/or class B GPCRs than class A, class B, or class F GPCRs are to each other. To further probe GCR1, we have aligned transmembrane helix 3 of GCR1 to each of the six GPCR classes. Variability comparisons provide additional evidence that GCR1 homologs have the GPCR fold. From the alignments and a GCR1 comparative model, we have identified motifs that are common to GCR1, class A, B, and E GPCRs. We discuss the possibilities that emerge from this controversial evidence that GCR1 has a GPCR fold.
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ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science