GPR125 (ADGRA3) is an autocleavable adhesion GPCR that traffics with Dlg1 to the basolateral membrane and regulates epithelial apicobasal polarity

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The adhesion family of G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) is defined by an N-terminal large extracellular region that contains various adhesion-related domains and a highly-conserved GPCR-autoproteolysis-inducing (GAIN) domain, the latter of which is located immediately before a canonical seven-transmembrane domain. These receptors are expressed widely and involved in various functions including development, angiogenesis, synapse formation, and tumorigenesis. GPR125 (ADGRA3), an orphan adhesion GPCR, has been shown to modulate planar cell polarity in gastrulating zebrafish, but its biochemical properties and role in mammalian cells have remained largely unknown. Here, we show that human GPR125 likely undergoes cis-autoproteolysis when expressed in canine kidney epithelial MDCK cells and human embryonic kidney HEK293 cells. The cleavage appears to occur at an atypical GPCR proteolysis site within the GAIN domain during an early stage of receptor biosynthesis. The products, i.e., the N-terminal and C-terminal fragments, seem to remain associated after self-proteolysis, as observed in other adhesion GPCRs. Furthermore, in polarized MDCK cells, GPR125 is exclusively recruited to the basolateral domain of the plasma membrane. The recruitment likely requires the C-terminal PDZ-domain–binding motif of GPR125 and its interaction with the cell polarity protein Dlg1. Knockdown of GPR125 as well as that of Dlg1 results in formation of aberrant cysts with multiple lumens in Matrigel 3D culture of MDCK cells. Consistent with the multilumen phenotype, mitotic spindles are incorrectly oriented during cystogenesis in GPR125-KO MDCK cells. Thus, the basolateral protein GPR125, an autocleavable adhesion GPCR, appears to play a crucial role in apicobasal polarization in epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102475
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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