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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Jul 23;99(15):10138-43. Epub 2002 Jul 10.

Alternative splicing of RGS8 gene determines inhibitory function of receptor type-specific Gq signaling.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Cell Signaling, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience, 2-6 Musashidai, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo 183-8526, Japan.


The regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) proteins modulate heterotrimeric G protein signaling. RGS8 is a brain-specific RGS protein of 180 aa. Here we identified a short isoform of RGS8, RGS8S, that arises by alternative splicing. RGS8S cDNA encodes a N terminus of 7 aa instead of amino acids 1-9 of RGS8 and 10-180 of RGS8. The subcellular distribution of RGS8 and RGS8S did not differ significantly in transfected cells. RGS8S accelerated, not as efficiently as RGS8, the turning on and off of Gi/o-mediated modulation of G protein-gated inwardly rectifying K(+) channels in Xenopus oocytes. We next examined the effects of RGS8 and RGS8S on Gq-mediated signaling. RGS8 decreased the amplitude of the response upon activation of m1 muscarinic or substance P receptors, but did not remarkably inhibit signaling from m3 muscarinic receptors. In contrast, RGS8S showed much less inhibition of the response of either of these Gq-coupled receptors. By quantitative analysis of the inhibitory effect and the protein expression level, we confirmed that the difference of inhibitory effect is caused by both the qualitative difference between RGS8 and RGS8S and the quantitative difference of the protein expression level. We also confirmed that the receptor-type specificity of inhibition is not caused by the difference of the expression level of the receptors. In summary, we showed that 9 aa in the N terminus of RGS8 contribute to the function to inhibit Gq-coupled signaling in a receptor type-specific manner and that the regulatory function of RGS8S is especially diminished on Gq-coupled responses.

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