Probing PAC1 receptor activation across species with an engineered sensor

Reto B. Cola, Salome N. Niethammer, Preethi Rajamannar, Andrea Gresch, Musadiq A. Bhat, Kevin Assoumou, Elyse T. Williams, Patrick Hauck, Nina Hartrampf, Dietmar Benke, Miriam Stoeber, Gil Levkowitz, Sarah Melzer, Tommaso Patriarchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Class-B1 G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are an important family of clinically relevant drug targets that remain difficult to investigate via high-throughput screening and in animal models. Here, we engineered PAClight1P78A, a novel genetically-encoded sensor based on a class-B1 GPCR (the human PAC1 receptor, hmPAC1R) endowed with high dynamic range (ΔF/F0 = 1100, excellent ligand selectivity and rapid activation kinetics (τON = 1.15 sec). To showcase the utility of this tool for in vitro applications, we thoroughly characterized and compared its expression, brightness and performance between PAClight1P78A transfected and stably-expressing cells. Demonstrating its use in animal models, we show robust expression and fluorescence responses upon exogenous ligand application ex vivo and in vivo in mice, as well as in living zebrafish larvae. Thus, the new GPCR-based sensor can be used for a wide range of applications across the life sciences empowering both basic research and drug development efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages51
StatePublished - 7 Feb 2024


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