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ABSTRACT: Phosducin-like protein (PhLP) binds G-protein beta gamma subunits and is thought to assist in assembly of the G-protein beta gamma dimer. Phosphorylation of PhLP at serine residues 18-20 by the casein kinase 2 (CK2) appears to play an essential role in this process. PhLP has also been shown to interact with the chaperonin containing TCP-1 (CCT) atop its apical domain, not entering the substrate folding cavity. However, the physiological role of the PhLP-CCT interaction in G-protein beta gamma dimer formation remains unclear. This study addresses the mechanism of G-protein beta gamma assembly by exploring the specific roles of CCT and CK2 phosphorylation of PhLP in the assembly process. Both overexpressed and endogenous Gbeta were shown to co-immunoprecipitate with CCT to a similar extent as PhLP, indicating that CCT may be involved in the folding of Gbeta. In addition, Ggamma overexpression enhanced the binding of PhLP to CCT, suggesting the formation of a ternary PhLP-Gbeta-CCT complex. In contrast, overexpression of PhLP caused the release of G-beta from CCT. This release was blocked by a PhLP S18-20A variant that lacks the S18-20 CK2 phosphorylation site. PhLP S18-20A has been previously shown to negatively affect the G-protein beta gamma dimer formation, suggesting a correlation between PhLP-mediated release of Gbeta from CCT and G protein beta gamma assembly. Experiments investigating the role of Ggamma in this process show that Ggamma does not interact with CCT nor is it the essential factor in the release of Gbeta from CCT. A new model is therefore proposed for the G-protein beta gamma subunits' assembly involving the formation of a PhLP-Gbeta-CCT ternary complex followed by the release of a phosphorylated PhLP-Gbeta complex from CCT. In the PhLP-Gbeta complex, the Ggamma binding face of Gbeta is exposed, allowing for the formation of the G-protein beta gamma dimer. Thesis (M.S.)--Brigham Young University. Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, 2006. Includes bibliographical references (p. 27-30).