Adenosine receptors (ADORs) are G-protein coupled purinoceptors that have several functions including regulation of chloride secretion via CFTR in human airway and kidney. We cloned an ADOR from Squalus acanthias (shark) that likely regulates CFTR in the rectal gland. Phylogenic- and expression- analyses indicate that elasmobranch ADORs are non-olfactory, and appear to represent extant predecessors of mammalian ADORs. We therefore designate the shark ADOR as the A0 receptor. We co-expressed A0 with CFTR in Xenopus laevis oocytes and characterized the coupling of A0 to the chloride channel. Two electrode voltage clamping was performed and current-voltage (I-V) responses were recorded to monitor CFTR status. Only in A0- and CFTR- co-injected oocytes did adenosine analogs produce a significant concentration-dependent activation of CFTR consistent with its electrophysiological signature. A pharmacological profile for A0 was obtained for ADOR agonists and antagonists that differed markedly from all mammalian ADOR subtypes (agonists: R-PIA > S-PIA > CGS21680 > CPA > 2ClADO > CV1808 = DPMA > NECA) and (antagonists: DPCPX > PD115199 > 8PT > CGC > CGS15943). Structures of human ADORs permitted a high-confidence homology model of the shark A0 core which revealed unique structural features of ancestral receptors. We conclude: (1) A0 is a novel and unique adenosine receptor ancestor by functional and structural criteria; (2) A0 likely activates CFTR in vivo and this receptor activates CFTR in oocytes indicating an evolutionary coupling between ADORs and chloride secretion; and (3) A0 appears to be a non-olfactory evolutionary ancestor of all four mammalian ADOR subtypes.Significance Statement
We have cloned and characterized an ancient adenosine receptor from sharks that is unlikely to be olfactory in function. The shark receptor, which we designate as A0, has a unique pharmacological profile, characteristic structural features, and is also highly likely to be the dominant ADOR regulator of the shark ancient ortholog of the Cystic Fibrosis chloride channel, called CFTR.