Structure of a lasso peptide bound ETB receptor provides insights into the mechanism of GPCR inverse agonism

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Lasso peptides exhibit a unique lariat-like knotted structure imparting exceptional stability and thus show promise as therapeutic agents that target cell-surface receptors. One such receptor is the human endothelin ET B receptor, which is implicated in challenging cancers with poor immunotherapy responsiveness. The Streptomyces -derived lasso peptide, RES-701-3, is a selective inhibitor for ET B and a compelling candidate for therapeutic development. However, meager production from a genetically recalcitrant host has limited further structure-activity relationship studies of this potent inhibitor. Here, we report cryo-electron microscopy structures of ET B receptor in both its apo form and complex with RES-701-3, facilitated by a calcineurin-fusion strategy. Hydrophobic interactions between RES-701-3 and the transmembrane region of the receptor, especially involving two tryptophan residues, play a crucial role in RES-701-3 binding. Furthermore, RES-701-3 prevents conformational changes associated with G-protein coupling, explaining its inverse agonist activity. A comparative analysis with other lasso peptides and their target proteins highlights the potential of lasso peptides as precise drug candidates for G-protein-coupled receptors. This structural insight into RES-701-3 binding to ET B receptor offers valuable information for the development of novel therapeutics targeting this receptor and provides a broader understanding of lasso peptide interactions with human cell-surface receptors.

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