New paper: Subcellular location defines GPCR signal transduction.

Unveiling the impact of subcellular location on GPCR signal transduction. Explore how opioid receptors exhibit differential signaling in the plasma membrane and Golgi apparatus, influencing protein phosphorylation and transcriptional effects.

RADOUX-MERGAULT A., OBERHAUSER L., AURELI S., GERVASIO F. L., STOEBER, M. Subcellular location defines GPCR signal transduction. Sci. Adv.9, eadf6059(2023). 10.1126/sciadv.adf6059.


Intracellular G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) can be activated by permeant ligands, which contributes to agonist selectivity. Opioid receptors (ORs) provide a notable example, where opioid drugs rapidly activate ORs in the Golgi apparatus. Our knowledge on intracellular GPCR function remains incomplete, and it is unknown whether OR signaling in plasma membrane (PM) and Golgi apparatus differs. Here, we assess the recruitment of signal transducers to mu- and delta-ORs in both compartments. We find that Golgi ORs couple to Gαi/o probes and are phosphorylated but, unlike PM receptors, do not recruit β-arrestin or a specific Gα probe. Molecular dynamics simulations with OR–transducer complexes in bilayers mimicking PM or Golgi composition reveal that the lipid environment promotes the location-selective coupling. We then show that delta-ORs in PM and Golgi have distinct effects on transcription and protein phosphorylation. The study reveals that the subcellular location defines the signaling effects of opioid drugs.