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J Biol Chem. 1999 Jun 11;274(24):17365-71.

Ribozyme approach identifies a functional association between the G protein beta1gamma7 subunits in the beta-adrenergic receptor signaling pathway.

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  • 1Henry Hood M.D. Research Program, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Danville, Pennsylvania 17822, USA.


The complex role that the heterotrimeric G proteins play in signaling pathways has become increasingly apparent with the cloning of countless numbers of receptors, G proteins, and effectors. However, in most cases, the specific combinations of alpha and betagamma subunits comprising the G proteins that participate in the most common signaling pathways, such as beta-adrenergic regulation of adenylyl cyclase activity, are not known. The extent of this problem is evident in the fact that the identities of the betagamma subunits that combine with the alpha subunit of Gs are only now being elucidated almost 20 years after its initial purification. In a previous study, we described the first use of a ribozyme strategy to suppress specifically the expression of the gamma7 subunit of the G proteins, thereby identifying a specific role of this protein in coupling the beta-adrenergic receptor to stimulation of adenylyl cyclase activity in HEK 293 cells. In the present study, we explored the potential utility of a ribozyme approach directed against the gamma7 subunit to identify functional associations with a particular beta and alphas subunit of the G protein in this signaling pathway. Accordingly, HEK 293 cells were transfected with a ribozyme directed against the gamma7 subunit, and the effects of this manipulation on levels of the beta and alphas subunits were determined by immunoblot analysis. Among the five beta alphas subunits detected in these cells, only the beta1 subunit was coordinately reduced following treatment with the ribozyme directed against the gamma7 subunit, thereby demonstrating a functional association between the beta1 and gamma7 subunits. The mechanism for coordinate suppression of the beta1 subunit was due to a striking change in the half-life of the beta1 monomer versus the beta1 heterodimer complexed with the gamma7 subunit. Neither the 52- nor 45-kDa subunits were suppressed following treatment with the ribozyme directed against the gamma7 subunit, thereby providing insights into the assembly of the Gs heterotrimer. Taken together, these data show the utility of a ribozyme approach to identify the role of not only the gamma subunits but also the beta subunits of the G proteins in signaling pathways.

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