Photo-induced receptor confinement drives ligand-independent GPCR signaling

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Abstract

Cell-cell communication relies on the assembly of receptor-ligand complexes at the plasma membrane. The spatiotemporal receptor organization has a pivotal role in evoking cellular responses. We studied the clustering of heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide–binding protein (G protein)–coupled receptors (GPCRs) and established a photo-instructive matrix with ultra-small lock-and-key interaction pairs to control lateral membrane organization of hormone neuropeptide Y2 receptors in living cells by light. Within seconds, receptor clustering was modulated in size, location, and density. After in-situ confinement, changes in cellular morphology, motility, and calcium signaling revealed ligand-independent receptor activation. This approach may enhance exploration of mechanisms in cell signaling and mechanotransduction.

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