Expression and Purification of Protease-Activated Receptor 4 (PAR4) and Analysis with Histidine Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Maria De La Fuente
  • Xu Han
  • Masaru Miyagi
  • Marvin T. Nieman

External Institution(s)

  • Case Western Reserve University


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-681
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatusPublished - Feb 11 2020


Protease-activated receptors (PARs) are G-protein-coupled receptors that are activated by proteolysis of the N-terminus, which exposes a tethered ligand that interacts with the receptor. Numerous studies have focused on the signaling pathways mediated by PARs. However, the structural basis for initiation of these pathways is unknown. Here, we describe a strategy for the expression and purification of PAR4. This is the first PAR family member to be isolated without stabilizing modifications for biophysical studies. We monitored PAR4 activation with histidine hydrogen-deuterium exchange. PAR4 has nine histidines that are spaced throughout the protein, allowing a global view of solvent accessible and nonaccessible regions. Peptides containing each of the nine His residues were used to determine the t1/2 for each His residue in apo or thrombin-activated PAR4. The thrombin-cleaved PAR4 exhibited a 2-fold increase (p > 0.01) in t1/2 values observed for four histidine residues (His180, His229, His240, and His380), demonstrating that these regions have decreased solvent accessibility upon thrombin treatment. In agreement, thrombin-cleaved PAR4 also was resistant to thermolysin digestion. In contrast, the rate of thermolysin proteolysis following stimulation with the PAR4 activation peptide was the same as that of unstimulated PAR4. Further analysis showed the C-terminus is protected in thrombin-activated PAR4 compared to uncleaved or agonist peptide-treated PAR4. The studies described here are the first to examine the tethered ligand activation mechanism for a PAR family member biophysically and shed light on the overall conformational changes that follow activation of PARs by a protease.