In Silico Identification of Cholesterol Binding Motifs in the Chemokine Receptor CCR3


CC motif chemokine receptor 3 (CCR3) is a Class A G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) mainly responsible for the cellular trafficking of eosinophils. As such, it plays key roles in inflammatory conditions, such as asthma and arthritis, and the metastasis of many deadly forms of cancer. However, little is known about how CCR3 functionally interacts with its bilayer environment. Here, we investigate cholesterol binding sites in silico through Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics (MD) and Pylipid analysis using an extensively validated homology model based on the crystal structure of CCR5. These simulations identified several cholesterol binding sites containing Cholesterol Recognition/Interaction Amino Acid Consensus motif (CRAC) and its inversion CARC motifs in CCR3. One such site, a CARC site in TM1, in conjunction with aliphatic residues in TM7, emerged as a candidate for future investigation based on the cholesterol residency time within the binding pocket. This site forms the core of a cholesterol binding site previously observed in computational studies of CCR2 and CCR5. Most importantly, these cholesterol binding sites are conserved in other chemokine receptors and may provide clues to cholesterol regulation mechanisms in this subfamily of Class A GPCRs.


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GPCR, CCR3, Chemokine Receptor, Cholesterol, CRAC Motif, CARC Motif, Molecular Dynamics, Pylipid


van Aalst E, Koneri J, Wylie BJ. In Silico Identification of Cholesterol Binding Motifs in the Chemokine Receptor CCR3. Membranes. 2021; 11(8):570.