Adenosine receptors are GPCRs that recognize and bind nucleosides and their derivatives and have well established roles in several physiological processes. When a GPCR recognizes and binds an extracellular molecule, such as a drug, hormone, or neurotransmitter, this initial interaction triggers a conformational change in the seven-transmembrane region of the receptor, activating a cascade of signaling events that ultimately lead to physiological changes. GPCR signaling is regulated not only by drugs but also by the cellular environment itself, especially by lipids in the membrane bilayer.
The A2A adenosine receptor (A2AAR) is the receptor for caffeine, theophylline and theobromine, as well as validated drugs for Parkinson’s’ disease and cancer Immunotherapy. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Matthew Eddy, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, my proposed research aims to develop an understanding of how membrane lipids influence A2AAR drug recognition and signaling, which may explain how one drug can have different effects on cells with different membrane compositions.