A calcium-sensing receptor mutation causing hypocalcemia disrupts a transmembrane salt bridge to activate β-arrestin-biased signaling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Valerie N Babinsky
  • Tomas Malinauskas
  • Peter H Nissen
  • Anders J Schou
  • Aylin C Hanyaloglu
  • Christian Siebold
  • E Yvonne Jones
  • Fadil M Hannan
  • Rajesh V Thakker

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Oxford
  • Aarhus University Hospital
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Liverpool


The calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) is a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that signals through Gq/11 and Gi/o to stimulate cytosolic calcium (Ca2+i) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling to control extracellular calcium homeostasis. Studies of loss- and gain-of-function CASR mutations, which cause familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia type 1 (FHH1) and autosomal dominant hypocalcemia type 1 (ADH1), respectively, have revealed that the CaSR signals in a biased manner. Thus, some mutations associated with FHH1 lead to signaling predominantly through the MAPK pathway, whereas mutations associated with ADH1 preferentially enhance Ca2+i responses. We report a previously unidentified ADH1-associated R680G CaSR mutation, which led to the identification of a CaSR structural motif that mediates biased signaling. Expressing CaSRR680G in HEK 293 cells showed that this mutation increased MAPK signaling without altering Ca2+i responses. Moreover, this gain of function in MAPK activity occurred independently of Gq/11 and Gi/o and was mediated instead by a noncanonical pathway involving β-arrestin proteins. Homology modeling and mutagenesis studies showed that the R680G CaSR mutation selectively enhanced β-arrestin signaling by disrupting a salt bridge formed between Arg680 and Glu767, which are located in CaSR transmembrane domain 3 and extracellular loop 2, respectively. Thus, our results demonstrate CaSR signaling through β-arrestin and the importance of the Arg680-Glu767 salt bridge in mediating signaling bias.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaan3714
Number of pages15
JournalScience signaling
Issue number518
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2018