The human genome encodes ~750 G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), including prokineticin receptor 2 (PROKR2) involved in the regulation of sexual maturation. Previously reported pathogenic gain-of-function mutations of GPCR genes invariably encoded aberrant receptors with excessive signal transduction activity. Although in vitro assays demonstrated that an artificially created inactive mutant of PROKR2 exerted paradoxical gain-of-function effects when co-transfected with wild-type proteins, such a phenomenon has not been observed in vivo. Here, we report a heterozygous frameshift mutation of PROKR2 identified in a 3.5-year-old girl with central precocious puberty. The mutant mRNA escaped nonsense-mediated decay and generated a GPCR lacking two transmembrane domains and the carboxyl-terminal tail. The mutant protein had no in vitro signal transduction activity; however, cells co-expressing the mutant and wild-type PROKR2 exhibited markedly exaggerated ligand-induced Ca2+ responses. The results indicate that certain inactive PROKR2 mutants can cause early puberty by enhancing the functional property of coexisting wild-type proteins. Considering the structural similarity among GPCRs, this paradoxical gain-of-function mechanism may underlie various human disorders.
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