Cryo-EM structure of the adenosine A2A receptor coupled to an engineered heterotrimeric G protein

Javier García-Nafría, Yang Lee, Xiaochen Bai, Byron Carpenter, Christopher G. Tate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR) is a prototypical G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that couples to the heterotrimeric G protein GS. Here, we determine the structure by electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) of A2A R at pH 7.5 bound to the small molecule agonist NECA and coupled to an engineered heterotrimeric G protein, which contains mini-GS, the βγ subunits and nanobody Nb35. Most regions of the complex have a resolution of ~3.8 Å or better. Comparison with the 3.4 Å resolution crystal structure shows that the receptor and mini-GS are virtually identical and that the density of the side chains and ligand are of comparable quality. However, the cryo-EM density map also indicates regions that are flexible in comparison to the crystal structures, which unexpectedly includes regions in the ligand binding pocket. In addition, an interaction between intracellular loop 1 of the receptor and the β subunit of the G protein was observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere35946
StatePublished - May 4 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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