Coevolution of Residues Provides Evidence of a Functional Heterodimer of 5-HT2AR and 5-HT2CR Involving Both Intracellular and Extracellular Domains

Bernard Fongang, Kathryn A. Cunningham, Maga Rowicka, Andrzej Kudlicki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating activities such as sleep, appetite, mood and substance abuse disorders; serotonin receptors 5-HT2AR and 5-HT2CR are active within pathways associated with substance abuse. It has been suggested that 5-HT2AR and 5-HT2CR may form a dimer that affects behavioral processes. Here we study the coevolution of residues in 5-HT2AR and 5-HT2CR to identify potential interactions between residues in both proteins. Coevolution studies can detect protein interactions, and since the thus uncovered interactions are subject to evolutionary pressure, they are likely functional. We assessed the significance of the 5-HT2AR/5-HT2CR interactions using randomized phylogenetic trees and found the coevolution significant (p-value = 0.01). We also discuss how co-expression of the receptors suggests the predicted interaction is functional. Finally, we analyze how several single nucleotide polymorphisms for the 5-HT2AR and 5-HT2CR genes affect their interaction. Our findings are the first to characterize the binding interface of 5-HT2AR/5-HT2CR and indicate a correlation between this interface and location of SNPs in both proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-59
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • 5-HT receptor
  • 5-HT receptor
  • Gaussian convolution
  • direct coupling analysis
  • evolutionary coupling
  • serotonin receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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