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J Biol Chem. 2001 Sep 21;276(38):36014-9. Epub 2001 Jul 16.

Modular design of Gbeta as the basis for reversible specificity in effector stimulation.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


The G protein Gbetagamma subunit complex stimulates effectors by direct interactions utilizing extensive Gbeta regions over the surface of its propeller structure that faces the Galpha subunit. Our previous experiments have shown the resolved functions of signal transfer and general binding for Gbeta regions involved in stimulation of the effector phospholipase C-beta2, PLC-beta2, within the region Gbeta-(86-135), which comprises three beta strands arranged in a structurally contiguous fashion (Buck, E., Li, J., Chen, Y., Weng, G., Sacarlata, S., and Iyengar, R. (1999) Science 283, 1332-1335). This raises an important question as to why mutagenesis studies indicate that an extensive set of sites all over the Gbeta propeller structure and outside the 86-135 region are involved in Gbeta regulation of PLC-beta2. Using peptides to define functions of these Gbeta regions, we find that Gbeta signaling to PLC-beta2 relies on a collection of modular signal transfer and general binding units, each with lower apparent affinity relative to Gbetagamma-PLC interactions. Gbeta-(42-54) functions as a signal transfer region, Gbeta-(228-249) and Gbeta-(321-340) function in general binding, and Gbeta-(64-84) and Gbeta-(300-313) seem to play a structural role rather than a direct contact with the effector. A substitution within the Gbeta-(42-54) signal transfer region that increases the K(act) of this peptide for PLC-beta2 is accompanied by an increase in the observed maximal extent of signal transfer. We conclude that the lower K(act) for individual signal transfer regions may result in a decrease in the maximal effect of signal transfer. The spatial resolution of the signal transfer and general binding regions over a wide surface of Gbeta allow geometrical constraints to achieve specificity even with relatively low affinity interactions.

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