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The calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR), a cell-surface sensor for Ca2+, is the master regulator of calcium homeostasis in humans and is the target of calcimimetic drugs for the treatment of parathyroid disorders1. CaSR is a family C G-protein-coupled receptor2 that functions as an obligate homodimer, with each protomer composed of a Ca2+-binding extracellular domain and a seven-transmembrane-helix domain (7TM) that activates heterotrimeric G proteins. Here we present cryo-electron microscopy structures of near-full-length human CaSR in inactive or active states bound to Ca2+ and various calcilytic or calcimimetic drug molecules. We show that, upon activation, the CaSR homodimer adopts an asymmetric 7TM configuration that primes one protomer for G-protein coupling. This asymmetry is stabilized by 7TM-targeting calcimimetic drugs adopting distinctly different poses in the two protomers, whereas the binding of a calcilytic drug locks CaSR 7TMs in an inactive symmetric configuration. These results provide a detailed structural framework for CaSR activation and the rational design of therapeutics targeting this receptor.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/s41586-021-03691-0

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nature

Publication Date

30/06/2021