The controlled activation of proteins in living cells is an important goal in protein-design research, but to introduce an artificial activation switch into membrane proteins through rational design is a significant challenge because of the structural and functional complexity of such proteins. Here we report the allosteric activation of two types of membrane-bound neurotransmitter receptors, the ion-channel type and the G-protein-coupled glutamate receptors, using coordination chemistry in living cells. The high programmability of coordination chemistry enabled two His mutations, which act as an artificial allosteric site, to be semirationally incorporated in the vicinity of the ligand-binding pockets. Binding of Pd(2,2′-bipyridine) at the allosteric site enabled the active conformations of the glutamate receptors to be stabilized. Using this approach, we were able to activate selectively a mutant glutamate receptor in live neurons, which initiated a subsequent signal-transduction pathway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)