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J Biol Chem. 2000 Oct 27;275(43):33633-40.

Characterization of the extra-large G protein alpha-subunit XLalphas. II. Signal transduction properties.

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Department of Neurobiology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 364, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


In the preceding paper (Pasolli, H. A., Klemke, M., Kehlenbach, R. H. , Wang, Y., and Huttner, W. B. (2000) J. Biol. Chem. 275, 33622-33632), we report on the tissue distribution and subcellular localization of XLalphas (extra large alphas), a neuroendocrine-specific, plasma membrane-associated protein consisting of a novel 37-kDa XL domain followed by a 41-kDa alphas domain encoded by exons 2-13 of the Galphas gene. Here, we have studied the signal transduction properties of XLalphas. Like Galphas, XLalphas undergoes a conformational change upon binding of GTPgammaS (guanosine 5'-O-(thio)triphosphate), as revealed by its partial resistance to tryptic digestion, which generated the same fragments as in the case of Galphas. Two approaches were used to analyze XLalphas-betagamma interactions: (i) ADP-ribosylation by cholera toxin to detect even weak or transient XLalphas-betagamma interactions and (ii) sucrose density gradient centrifugation to reveal stable heterotrimer formation. The addition of betagamma subunits resulted in an increased ADP-ribosylation of XLalphas as well as an increased sedimentation rate of XLalphas in sucrose density gradients, indicating that XLalphas interacts with the betagamma dimer. Surprisingly, however, XLalphas, in contrast to Galphas, was not activated by the beta2-adrenergic receptor upon reconstitution of S49cyc(-) membranes. Similarly, using photoaffinity labeling of pituitary membranes with azidoanilide-GTP, XLalphas was not activated upon stimulation of pituitary adenylyl cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) receptors or other Galphas-coupled receptors known to be present in these membranes, whereas Galphas was. Despite the apparent inability of XLalphas to undergo receptor-mediated activation, XLalphas-GTPgammaS markedly stimulated adenylyl cyclase in S49cyc(-) membranes. Moreover, transfection of PC12 cells with a GTPase-deficient mutant of XLalphas, XLalphas-Q548L, resulted in a massive increase in adenylyl cyclase activity. Our results suggest that in neuroendocrine cells, the two related G proteins, Galphas and XLalphas, exhibit distinct properties with regard to receptor-mediated activation but converge onto the same effector system, adenylyl cyclase.

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