RGS-Insensitive Gα Subunits: Probes of Gα Subtype-Selective Signaling and Physiological Functions of RGS Proteins

Department of Pharmacology, The University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) (Impact Factor: 1.29). 01/2011; 756:75-98. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-61779-160-4_4
Source: PubMed


The Regulator of G protein Signaling (RGS) proteins were identified as a family in 1996 and humans have more than 30 such proteins. Their best known function is to suppress G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCR) signaling by increasing the rate of Gα turnoff through stimulation of GTPase activity (i.e., GTPase acceleration protein or GAP activity). The GAP activity of RGS proteins on the Gαi and Gαq family of G proteins can terminate signals initiated by both α and βγ subunits. RGS proteins also serve as scaffolds, assembling signal-regulating modules. Understanding the physiological roles of RGS proteins is of great importance, as GPCRs are major targets for drug development. The traditional method of using RGS knockout mice has provided some information about the role of RGS proteins but in many cases effects are modest, perhaps because of redundancy in RGS protein function. As an alternative approach, we have utilized a glycine-to-serine mutation in the switch 1 region of Gα subunits that prevents RGS binding. The mutation has no known effects on Gα binding to receptor, Gβγ, or effectors. Alterations in function resulting from the G>S mutation imply a role for both the specific mutated Gα subunit and its regulation by RGS protein activity. Mutant rodents expressing these G>S mutant Gα subunits have strong phenotypes and provide important information about specific physiological functions of Gαi2 and Gαo and their control by RGS. The conceptual framework behind this approach and a summary of recent results is presented in this chapter.

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    • "In fact the expression of Rgs1 and Rgs2, both located close to the Rgs13 locus on chromosome 1, were increased in GC B cells from the KI mice. It will be of interest to examine the GC zoning in mice with a Gnai2 G184S KI, which interferes with the binding of all RGS proteins to Gαi2 [36]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Germinal centers (GCs) are microanatomic structures that develop in secondary lymphoid organs in response to antigenic stimulation. Within GCs B cells clonally expand and their immunoglobulin genes undergo class switch recombination and somatic hypermutation. Transcriptional profiling has identified a number of genes that are prominently expressed in GC B cells. Among them is Rgs13, which encodes an RGS protein with a dual function. Its canonical function is to accelerate the intrinsic GTPase activity of heterotrimeric G-protein α subunits at the plasma membrane, thereby limiting heterotrimeric G-protein signaling. A unique, non-canonical function of RGS13 occurs following translocation to the nucleus, where it represses CREB transcriptional activity. The functional role of RGS13 in GC B cells is unknown. To create a surrogate marker for Rgs13 expression and a loss of function mutation, we inserted a GFP coding region into the Rgs13 genomic locus. Following immunization GFP expression rapidly increased in activated B cells, persisted in GC B cells, but declined in newly generated memory B and plasma cells. Intravital microscopy of the inguinal lymph node (LN) of immunized mice revealed the rapid appearance of GFP(+) cells at LN interfollicular regions and along the T/B cell borders, and eventually within GCs. Analysis of WT, knock-in, and mixed chimeric mice indicated that RGS13 constrains extra-follicular plasma cell generation, GC size, and GC B cell numbers. Analysis of select cell cycle and GC specific genes disclosed an aberrant gene expression profile in the Rgs13 deficient GC B cells. These results indicate that RGS13, likely acting at cell membranes and in nuclei, helps coordinate key decision points during the expansion and differentiation of naive B cells.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "The literature on the physiological functions of RGS proteins has expanded greatly in recent years, so only selected aspects of RGS protein function are discussed here (Hepler, 1999; Ross and Wilkie, 2000; Zhong and Neubig, 2001; Hollinger and Hepler, 2002; Traynor and Neubig, 2005; Blazer and Neubig, 2009; Sjögren et al., 2010). The numerous RGS knockout mouse models have been reviewed recently (Kaur et al., 2010). Substantial data demonstrate roles for endogenous RGS proteins in cardiovascular functions, such as regulation of blood pressure and cardiac rhythmicity. "
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    ABSTRACT: Regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) proteins are emerging as potentially important drug targets. The mammalian RGS protein family has more than 20 members and they share a common ∼120-residue RGS homology domain or "RGS box." RGS proteins regulate signaling via G protein-coupled receptors by accelerating GTPase activity at active α subunits of G proteins of the G(q) and G(i/o) families. Most studies searching for modulators of RGS protein function have been focused on inhibiting the GTPase accelerating protein activity. However, many RGS proteins contain additional domains that serve other functions, such as interactions with proteins or subcellular targeting. Here, we discuss a rationale for therapeutic targeting of RGS proteins by regulation of expression or allosteric modulation to permit either increases or decreases in RGS function. Several RGS proteins have reduced expression or function in pathophysiological states, so strategies to increase RGS function would be useful. Because several RGS proteins are rapidly degraded by the N-end rule pathway, finding ways to stabilize them may prove to be an effective way to enhance RGS protein function.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Molecular pharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Heterotrimeric G-proteins are molecular switches integral to a panoply of different physiological responses that many organisms make to environmental cues. The switch from inactive to active Gαβγ heterotrimer relies on nucleotide cycling by the Gα subunit: exchange of GTP for GDP activates Gα, whereas its intrinsic enzymatic activity catalyzes GTP hydrolysis to GDP and inorganic phosphate, thereby reverting Gα to its inactive state. In several genetic studies of filamentous fungi, such as the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, a G42R mutation in the phosphate-binding loop of Gα subunits is assumed to be GTPase-deficient and thus constitutively active. Here, we demonstrate that Gα(G42R) mutants are not GTPase deficient, but rather incapable of achieving the activated conformation. Two crystal structure models suggest that Arg-42 prevents a typical switch region conformational change upon Gα(i1)(G42R) binding to GDP·AlF(4)(-) or GTP, but rotameric flexibility at this locus allows for unperturbed GTP hydrolysis. Gα(G42R) mutants do not engage the active state-selective peptide KB-1753 nor RGS domains with high affinity, but instead favor interaction with Gβγ and GoLoco motifs in any nucleotide state. The corresponding Gα(q)(G48R) mutant is not constitutively active in cells and responds poorly to aluminum tetrafluoride activation. Comparative analyses of M. oryzae strains harboring either G42R or GTPase-deficient Q/L mutations in the Gα subunits MagA or MagB illustrate functional differences in environmental cue processing and intracellular signaling outcomes between these two Gα mutants, thus demonstrating the in vivo functional divergence of G42R and activating G-protein mutants.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · PLoS Pathogens
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