In a study recently published in Neuron, researchers revealed the 3-dimensional structure of a key region of adhesion G protein–coupled receptors (aGPCRs), which are known to play diverse roles in neurobiological processes including cortical development, synaptogenesis, and myelination.
The large extracellular region of aGPCRs is thought to act as a bridge between cell-cell adhesion and intracellular signaling. Investigators from the University of Chicago determined the first complete crystal structure of the entire extracellular region (ECR) of a particular murine aGPCR called GPR56. This aGPCR is important for the development of the cerebral cortex and oligodendrocytes, which provide electrical insulation to neurons throughout the brain. Mutations in the human GPR56 gene cause a brain malformation called bilateral frontoparietal polymicrogyria.
Hampton T. New Insights on Key Neuronal Receptor. JAMA. 2016;316(17):1755. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.15860