The mutation of W276 to cysteine within the human endothelin receptor subtype B (ET(B)R) is associated with Hirschsprung's disease, a congenital intestinal disease. The sequence surrounding W276 is highly conserved between the endothelin receptor subtypes A and B. We have introduced sets of mutations into W275 and W276 of the ET(B)R gene, and the corresponding W257 and W258 of the ET(A)R gene, and studied their coupling properties with G(i), G(o), and G(q) in reconstituted phospholipid vesicles. The prepared mutants all showed a similar affinity for endothelin-1. The W276C/ET(B)R and W276A/ET(B)R mutants had reduced activities in G(q) coupling but not in G(i)/G(o) coupling, while the W275A/ET(B)R displayed reduced activities in G(i)/G(q) coupling, with normal G(o) coupling. On the other hand, W257A/ET(A)R and W258A/ET(A)R exhibited wild-type activities in all examined G protein couplings. These results suggest that the defects in the G(q) signaling pathway by the ET(B)R are connected with Hirschsprung's disease and that the two conserved tryptophans play distinct roles in signal transduction by the two receptor subtypes. In addition, W275 and W276, which are thought to be located near the extracellular side of the transmembrane helix 5, play important roles in forming the active structure of ET(B)R.
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