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Nature. 1992 Dec 17;360(6405):686-9.

Subunits beta gamma of heterotrimeric G protein activate beta 2 isoform of phospholipase C.

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Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena 91125.


The activation of heterotrimeric G proteins results in the exchange of GDP bound to the alpha-subunit for GTP and the subsequent dissociation of a complex of the beta- and gamma-subunits (G beta gamma). The alpha-subunits of different G proteins interact with a variety of effectors, but less is known about the function of the free G beta gamma complex. G beta gamma has been implicated in the activation of a cardiac potassium channel, a retinal phospholipase A2 (ref. 9) and a specific receptor kinase, and in vitro reconstitution experiments indicate that the G beta gamma complex can act with G alpha subunit to modulate the activity of different isoforms of adenylyl cyclase. Of two phospholipase activities that can be separated in extracts of HL-60 cells, purified G beta gamma is found to activate one of them. Here we report that in co-transfection assays G beta gamma subunits specifically activate the beta 2 and not the beta 1 isoform of phospholipase, which acts on phosphatidylinositol. We use transfection assays to show also that receptor-mediated release of G beta gamma from G proteins that are sensitive to pertussis toxin can result in activation of the phospholipase. This effect may be the basis of the pertussis-toxin-sensitive phospholipase C activation seen in some cell systems (reviewed in refs 13 and 14).

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