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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Nov 15;90(22):10831-5.

Phosducin-like protein: an ethanol-responsive potential modulator of guanine nucleotide-binding protein function.

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Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco General Hospital, CA 94110.


Acute and chronic exposure to ethanol produces specific changes in several signal transduction cascades. Such alterations in signaling are thought to be a crucial aspect of the central nervous system's adaptive response, which occurs with chronic exposure to ethanol. We have recently identified and isolated several genes whose expression is specifically induced by ethanol in neural cell cultures. The product of one of these genes has extensive sequence homology to phosducin, a phosphoprotein expressed in retina and pineal gland that modulates trimeric guanine nucleotide-binding protein (G protein) function by binding to G-protein beta gamma subunits. We identified from a rat brain cDNA library an isolate encoding the phosducin-like protein (PhLP), which has 41% identity and 65% amino acid homology to phosducin. PhLP cDNA is expressed in all tissues screened by RNA blot-hybridization analysis and shows marked evolutionary conservation on Southern hybridization. We have identified four forms of PhLP cDNA varying only in their 5' ends, probably due to alternative splicing. This 5'-end variation generates two predicted forms of PhLP protein that differ by 79 aa at the NH2 terminus. Treatment of NG108-15 cells for 24 hr with concentrations of ethanol seen in actively drinking alcoholics (25-100 mM) causes up to a 3-fold increase in PhLP mRNA levels. Induction of PhLP by ethanol could account for at least some of the widespread alterations in signal transduction and G-protein function that are known to occur with chronic exposure to ethanol.

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