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Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2000 Jun;20(3):305-17.

Functional coupling of G proteins to endothelin receptors is ligand and receptor subtype specific.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiochemistry, Tel Aviv University, Israel.


1. The aims of the present study were (a) to determine the identity of the G proteins with which the endothelin receptor interacts and whether this interaction is subtype specific and (b) to determine whether agonist exposure can result in specific coupling between the endothelin receptor and G proteins. 2. Coupling between endothelin A (ET(A)) or endothelin B (ET(B)) receptors and G proteins was assessed in two fibroblast cell lines, each expressing one receptor subtype. Four ligands, ET-1, ET-3, SRTXb, and SRTXc, were used for receptor stimulation. The G protein alpha-subunit coupled to the receptor was identified by immunoprecipitation with an antibody against the endothelin receptor and immunoblotting with specific antibodies against different G protein alpha-subunits. 3. Unstimulated ET(A) and ET(B) receptors (ET(A)R and ET(B)R, respectively) were barely coupled to Go(alpha). The unstimulated ET(A)R coimmunoprecipitated with Gi3alpha, whereas the unstimulated ETBR was much less strongly coupled to Gi3alpha. The coupling of ETBR to Gi1Gi2 alpha-subunits was much stronger than the coupling of ET(A)R to these alpha-subunits. Stimulation with the different ET agonists also resulted in differential coupling of G proteins to the receptor subtypes. All four ligands caused a strong increase in coupling of the ET(B)R to Gi3alpha, whereas coupling of the ET(A)R to this subunit was not affected by ET-1 and was even decreased by SRTXc. On the other hand, all four ligands caused a much greater increase in the coupling of ET(A)R to G(q)alpha/G11alpha than in the coupling of ET(B)R to these alpha-subunits. Ligand-induced coupling between the receptors and the Gi1 and Gi2 alpha-subunits is similar for the two receptor subtypes. The same was true for ligand-induced coupling of the receptors to Go(alpha), except that ET-3 increased the coupling of this alpha-subunit to ET(B)R and decreased the coupling to ET(A)R. Taken together, the results of this study show that coupling between ET receptors and G proteins is ligand and receptor subtype specific. 4. It remains to be established whether this diversity of receptor-G protein coupling is of relevance for the various endothelin signaling pathways and/or pathological states.

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