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J Biol Chem. 2003 Sep 12;278(37):34747-50. Epub 2003 Jul 24.

Receptor- and nucleotide exchange-independent mechanisms for promoting G protein subunit dissociation.

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Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


Mechanisms for heterotrimeric G protein activation that do not rely on G protein coupled receptor activation are becoming increasingly apparent. We recently identified beta gamma subunit-binding peptides that we proposed bound to a "hot spot" on beta gamma subunits, stimulating G protein dissociation without stimulating nucleotide exchange and activating G protein signaling in intact cells. AGS3, a member of the activators of G protein signaling family of proteins, also activates G protein signaling in a nucleotide exchange-independent manner, and AGS3 homologues are involved in asymmetric cell division during development. Here we demonstrate that a consensus G protein regulatory (GPR) peptide from AGS3 and related proteins is sufficient to induce G protein subunit dissociation and that both the GPR and hot spot-binding peptides promote dissociation to extents comparable with a known G protein activator, AMF. Peptides derived from adenylyl cyclase 2 and GRK2 prevented formation of the heterotrimeric complex but did not alter the rate of alpha subunit dissociation from beta gamma subunits. These data indicate that these nucleotide exchange-independent G protein activator peptides do not simply compete for alpha interactions with beta gamma subunits, but actively promote subunit dissociation. Thus, we propose two novel mechanisms for nucleotide exchange independent activation of G protein signaling, one that involves conformational changes in the alpha subunit and one that involves conformational changes in the beta gamma subunits.

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