Histamine receptors play important roles in various pathophysiological conditions and are effective targets for anti-allergy treatment, however the mechanism of receptor activation remain elusive. Here, we present the cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of the human H1R in complex with a Gq protein in an active conformation via a NanoBiT tethering strategy. The structure reveals that histamine activates receptor via interacting with the key residues of both transmembrane domain 3 (TM3) and TM6 to squash the binding pocket on the extracellular side and to open the cavity on the intracellular side for Gq engagement in a model of “squash to activate and expand to deactivate”.
Fig: Overall structure of the H1R/Gq complex
The structure also reveals features for Gq coupling, including the interaction between intracellular loop 2 (ICL2) and the αN-β junction of Gq/11 protein. The detailed analysis of our structure will provide a framework for understanding G-protein coupling selectivity and clues for designing novel antihistamines.
Xia, R., Wang, N., Xu, Z. et al. Cryo-EM structure of the human histamine H1 receptor/Gq complex. Nat Commun 12, 2086 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22427-2