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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Mar 3;112(9):E937-46. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1420140112. Epub 2015 Feb 17.

Multimodular biosensors reveal a novel platform for activation of G proteins by growth factor receptors.

Author information

Departments of Medicine and.
Pharmacology and.
Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology and Moores Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093


Environmental cues are transmitted to the interior of the cell via a complex network of signaling hubs. Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and trimeric G proteins are two such major signaling hubs in eukaryotes. Conventionally, canonical signal transduction via trimeric G proteins is thought to be triggered exclusively by G protein-coupled receptors. Here we used molecular engineering to develop modular fluorescent biosensors that exploit the remarkable specificity of bimolecular recognition, i.e., of both G proteins and RTKs, and reveal the workings of a novel platform for activation of G proteins by RTKs in single living cells. Comprised of the unique modular makeup of guanidine exchange factor Gα-interacting vesicle-associated protein (GIV)/girdin, a guanidine exchange factor that links G proteins to a variety of RTKs, these biosensors provide direct evidence that RTK-GIV-Gαi ternary complexes are formed in living cells and that Gαi is transactivated within minutes after growth factor stimulation at the plasma membrane. Thus, GIV-derived biosensors provide a versatile strategy for visualizing, monitoring, and manipulating the dynamic association of Gαi with RTKs for noncanonical transactivation of G proteins in cells and illuminate a fundamental signaling event regulated by GIV during diverse cellular processes and pathophysiologic states.


Akt; Girdin; PI3-kinase; cyclic AMP; growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase; heterotrimeric G protein; invasion

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