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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Jun 11;93(12):6053-8.

The association between glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins and heterotrimeric G protein alpha subunits in lymphocytes.

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  • 1Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins are nonmembrane spanning cell surface proteins that have been demonstrated to be signal transduction molecules. Because these proteins do not extend into the cytoplasm, the mechanism by which cross-linking of these molecules leads to intracellular signal transduction events is obscure. Previous analysis has indicated that these proteins are associated with src family member tyrosine kinases; however, the role this interaction plays in the generation of intracellular signals is not clear. Here we show that GPI-anchored proteins are associated with alpha subunits of heterotrimeric GTP binding proteins (G proteins) in both human and murine lymphocytes. When the GPI-anchored proteins CD59, CD48, and Thy-1 were immunoprecipitated from various cell lines or freshly isolated lymphocytes, all were found to be associated with a 41-kDa phosphoprotein that we have identified, by using specific antisera, as a mixture of tyrosine phosphorylated G protein alpha subunits: a small amount of Gialpha1, and substantial amounts of Gialpha2 and Gialpha3. GTP binding assays performed with immunoprecipitations of CD59 indicated that there was GTP-binding activity associated with this molecule. Thus, we have shown by both immunochemical and functional criteria that GPI-anchored proteins are physically associated with G proteins. These experiments suggest a potential role of G proteins in the transduction of signals generated by GPI-anchored molecules expressed on lymphocytes of both mouse and human.

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