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Endocrinology. 2009 Aug;150(8):3567-75. doi: 10.1210/en.2009-0318. Epub 2009 May 7.

Extralarge XL(alpha)s (XXL(alpha)s), a variant of stimulatory G protein alpha-subunit (Gs(alpha)), is a distinct, membrane-anchored GNAS product that can mimic Gs(alpha).

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Endocrine Unit, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


GNAS gives rise to multiple imprinted gene products, including the alpha-subunit of the stimulatory G protein (Gs(alpha)) and its variant XL(alpha)s. Based on genomic sequence, the translation of XL(alpha)s begins from the middle of a long open reading frame, suggesting the existence of an N-terminally extended variant termed extralarge XLalphas (XXL(alpha)s). Although XXL(alpha), like Gs(alpha) and XL(alpha)s, would be affected by most disease-causing GNAS mutations, its authenticity and biological significance remained unknown. Here we identified a mouse cDNA clone that comprises the entire open reading frame encoding XXL(alpha)s. Whereas XXL(alpha)s mRNA was readily detected in mouse heart by RT-PCR, it appeared virtually absent in insulinoma-derived INS-1 cells. By Northern blots and RT-PCR, XXL(alpha)s mRNA was detected primarily in the mouse brain, cerebellum, and spleen. Immunohistochemistry using a specific anti-XXL(alpha)s antibody demonstrated XXL(alpha)s protein in multiple brain areas, including dorsal hippocampus and cortex. In transfected cells, full-length human XXL(alpha)s was localized to the plasma membrane and mediated isoproterenol- and cholera toxin-stimulated cAMP accumulation. XXL(alpha)s-R844H, which bears a mutation analogous to that in the constitutively active Gs(alpha) mutant Gs(alpha)-R201H (gsp oncogene), displayed elevated basal signaling. However, unlike Gs(alpha)-R201H, which mostly remains in the cytoplasm, both XXL(alpha)s-R844H and a constitutively active XL(alpha)s mutant localized to the plasma membrane. Hence, XXL(alpha)s is a distinct GNAS product and can mimic Gs(alpha), but the constitutively active XXL(alpha)s and Gs(alpha) mutants differ from each other regarding subcellular targeting. Our findings suggest that XXL(alpha)s deficiency or hyperactivity may contribute to the pathogenesis of diseases caused by GNAS mutations.

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