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Neuron. 1998 Nov;21(5):1201-12.

G protein alpha subunit G alpha z couples neurotransmitter receptors to ion channels in sympathetic neurons.

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Laboratory of Molecular Physiology, Guthrie Research Institute, Sayre, Pennsylvania 18840, USA.


The functional roles subserved by G(alpha)z, a G protein alpha subunit found predominantly in neuronal tissues, have remained largely undefined. Here, we report that G(alpha)z coupled neurotransmitter receptors to N-type Ca2+ channels when transiently overexpressed in rat sympathetic neurons. The G(alpha)z-mediated inhibition was voltage dependent and PTX insensitive. Recovery from G(alpha)z-mediated inhibition was extremely slow but accelerated by coexpression with RGS proteins. G(alpha)z selectively interacted with a subset of receptors that ordinarily couple to N-type Ca2+ channels via PTX-sensitive Go/i proteins. In addition, G(alpha)z rescued the activation of heterologously expressed GIRK channels in PTX-treated neurons. These results suggest that G(alpha)z is capable of coupling receptors to ion channels and might underlie PTX-insensitive ion channel modulation observed in neurons under physiological and pathological conditions.

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