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1.  Negative cooperativity in binding of muscarinic receptor agonists and GDP as a measure of agonist efficacy 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2011;162(5):1029-1044.
Conventional determination of agonist efficacy at G-protein coupled receptors is measured by stimulation of guanosine-5′-γ−thiotriphosphate (GTPγS) binding. We analysed the role of guanosine diphosphate (GDP) in the process of activation of the M2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor and provide evidence that negative cooperativity between agonist and GDP binding is an alternative measure of agonist efficacy.
Filtration and scintillation proximity assays measured equilibrium binding as well as binding kinetics of [35S]GTPγS and [3H]GDP to a mixture of G-proteins as well as individual classes of G-proteins upon binding of structurally different agonists to the M2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor.
Agonists displayed biphasic competition curves with the antagonist [3H]-N-methylscopolamine. GTPγS (1 µM) changed the competition curves to monophasic with low affinity and 50 µM GDP produced a similar effect. Depletion of membrane-bound GDP increased the proportion of agonist high-affinity sites. Carbachol accelerated the dissociation of [3H]GDP from membranes. The inverse agonist N-methylscopolamine slowed GDP dissociation and GTPγS binding without changing affinity for GDP. Carbachol affected both GDP association with and dissociation from Gi/o G-proteins but only its dissociation from Gs/olf G-proteins.
These findings suggest the existence of a low-affinity agonist-receptor conformation complexed with GDP-liganded G-protein. Also the negative cooperativity between GDP and agonist binding at the receptor/G-protein complex determines agonist efficacy. GDP binding reveals differences in action of agonists versus inverse agonists as well as differences in activation of Gi/o versus Gs/olf G-proteins that are not identified by conventional GTPγS binding.
PMCID: PMC3051377  PMID: 20958290
muscarinic acetylcholine receptors; agonist efficacy; GDP binding
2.  Negative cooperativity in binding of muscarinic receptor agonists and GDP as a measure of agonist efficacy 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2011;162(5):1029-1044.
Conventional determination of agonist efficacy at G-protein coupled receptors is measured by stimulation of guanosine-5′-γ−thiotriphosphate (GTPγS) binding. We analysed the role of guanosine diphosphate (GDP) in the process of activation of the M2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor and provide evidence that negative cooperativity between agonist and GDP binding is an alternative measure of agonist efficacy.
Filtration and scintillation proximity assays measured equilibrium binding as well as binding kinetics of [35S]GTPγS and [3H]GDP to a mixture of G-proteins as well as individual classes of G-proteins upon binding of structurally different agonists to the M2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor.
Agonists displayed biphasic competition curves with the antagonist [3H]-N-methylscopolamine. GTPγS (1 µM) changed the competition curves to monophasic with low affinity and 50 µM GDP produced a similar effect. Depletion of membrane-bound GDP increased the proportion of agonist high-affinity sites. Carbachol accelerated the dissociation of [3H]GDP from membranes. The inverse agonist N-methylscopolamine slowed GDP dissociation and GTPγS binding without changing affinity for GDP. Carbachol affected both GDP association with and dissociation from Gi/o G-proteins but only its dissociation from Gs/olf G-proteins.
These findings suggest the existence of a low-affinity agonist-receptor conformation complexed with GDP-liganded G-protein. Also the negative cooperativity between GDP and agonist binding at the receptor/G-protein complex determines agonist efficacy. GDP binding reveals differences in action of agonists versus inverse agonists as well as differences in activation of Gi/o versus Gs/olf G-proteins that are not identified by conventional GTPγS binding.
PMCID: PMC3051377  PMID: 20958290
muscarinic acetylcholine receptors; agonist efficacy; GDP binding
3.  High-Throughput Screening for Small Molecule Inhibitors of LARG-Stimulated RhoA Nucleotide Binding via a Novel Fluorescence Polarization Assay 
Journal of biomolecular screening  2009;14(2):161-172.
Guanine nucleotide-exchange factors (GEFs) stimulate guanine nucleotide exchange and the subsequent activation of Rho-family proteins in response to extracellular stimuli acting upon cytokine, tyrosine kinase, adhesion, integrin, and G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Upon Rho activation, several downstream events occur, such as morphological and cytokskeletal changes, motility, growth, survival, and gene transcription. The RhoGEF Leukemia-Associated RhoGEF (LARG) is a member of the Regulators of G-protein Signaling Homology Domain (RH) family of GEFs originally identified as a result of chromosomal translocation in acute myeloid leukemia. Using a novel fluorescence polarization guanine nucleotide binding assay utilizing BODIPY-Texas Red-GTPγS (BODIPY-TR-GTPγS), we performed a ten-thousand compound high-throughput screen for inhibitors of LARG-stimulated RhoA nucleotide binding. Five compounds identified from the high-throughput screen were confirmed in a non-fluorescent radioactive guanine nucleotide binding assay measuring LARG-stimulated [35S] GTPγS binding to RhoA, thus ruling out non-specific fluorescent effects. All five compounds selectively inhibited LARG-stimulated RhoA [35S] GTPγS binding, but had little to no effect upon RhoA or Gαo [35S] GTPγS binding. Therefore, these five compounds should serve as promising starting points for the development of small molecule inhibitors of LARG-mediated nucleotide exchange as both pharmacological tools and therapeutics. In addition, the fluorescence polarization guanine nucleotide binding assay described here should serve as a useful approach for both high-throughput screening and general biological applications.
PMCID: PMC2698131  PMID: 19196702
high-throughput screening; fluorescence polarization; RhoGEF; RhoA; LARG; Drug Discovery
4.  Regulation of Actin Polymerization in Cell-free Systems by GTPγS and Cdc42 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1997;138(2):363-374.
We have established a cell-free system to investigate pathways that regulate actin polymerization. Addition of GTPγS to lysates of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) or Dictyostelium discoideum amoeba induced formation of filamentous actin. The GTPγS appeared to act via a small G-protein, since it was active in lysates ofD. discoideum mutants missing either the α2- or β-subunit of the heterotrimeric G-protein required for chemoattractant-induced actin polymerization in living cells. Furthermore, recombinant Cdc42, but not Rho or Rac, induced polymerization in the cell-free system. The Cdc42-induced increase in filamentous actin required GTPγS binding and was inhibited by a fragment of the enzyme PAK1 that binds Cdc42.
In a high speed supernatant, GTPγS alone was ineffective, but GTPγS-loaded Cdc42 induced actin polymerization, suggesting that the response was limited by guanine nucleotide exchange. Stimulating exchange by chelating magnesium, by adding acidic phospholipids, or by adding the exchange factors Cdc24 or Dbl restored the ability of GTPγS to induce polymerization. The stimulation of actin polymerization did not correlate with PIP2 synthesis.
PMCID: PMC2138194  PMID: 9230078
5.  Biarsenical ligands bind to endogenous G-protein α-subunits and enable allosteric sensing of nucleotide binding 
BMC Biochemistry  2013;14:37.
Heterotrimeric G-proteins relay extracellular signals to intracellular effector proteins. Multiple methods have been developed to monitor their activity; including labeled nucleotides and biosensors based on genetically engineered G-proteins. Here we describe a method for monitoring unlabeled nucleotide binding to endogenous G-proteins α-subunits in a homogeneous assay based on the interaction of 4′,5′-bis(1,2,3-dithioarsolan-2-yl)-2′,7′-difluorofluorescein (F2FlAsH) with G-protein α-subunits.
The biarsenic fluorescent ligand F2FlAsH binds to various wild-type G-protein α-subunits (αi1, αi2, αi3, αslong, αsshort, αolf, αq, α13) via high affinity As-cysteine interactions. This allosteric label enables real time monitoring of the nucleotide bound states of α-subunits via changes in fluorescence anisotropy and intensity of their F2FlAsH-complexes. We have found that different α-subunits displayed different signal amplitudes when interacting with F2FlAsH, being more sensitive to nucleotide binding to αi, αs, αolf and αq than to α13. Addition of nucleotides to F2FlAsH-labeled α-subunits caused concentration-dependent effects on their fluorescence anisotropy. pEC50 values of studied nucleotides depended on the subtype of the α-subunit and were from 5.7 to 8.2 for GTPγS, from 5.4 to 8.1 for GppNHp and from 4.8 to 8.2 for GDP and lastly up to 5.9 for GMP. While GDP and GMP increased the fluorescence anisotropy of F2FlAsH complexes with αi-subunits, they had the opposite effect on the other αβγM complexes studied.
Biarsenical ligands interact allosterically with endogenous G-protein α-subunits in a nucleotide-sensitive manner, so the presence or absence of guanine nucleotides has an effect on the fluorescence anisotropy, intensity and lifetime of F2FlAsH-G-protein complexes.
PMCID: PMC3878488  PMID: 24344803
G-proteins; Tetracysteine; F2FlAsH; Fluorescence anisotropy; Nucleotide binding
6.  Mechanisms of Ligand Binding to the Parathyroid Hormone (PTH)/PTH-Related Protein Receptor: Selectivity of a Modified PTH(1–15) Radioligand for GαS-Coupled Receptor Conformations 
Mechanisms of ligand binding to the PTH/PTHrP receptor (PTHR) were explored using PTH fragment analogs as radioligands in binding assays. In particular, the modified amino-terminal fragment analog, 125I-[Aib1,3,Nle8,Gln 10,homoarginine11,Ala12 Trp14,Tyr15]rPTH(1–15)NH2, 125I-[Aib1,3,M]PTH(1–15), was used as a radioligand that we hypothesized to bind solely to the juxtamembrane (J) portion of the PTHR containing the extracellular loops and transmembrane helices. We also employed 125I-PTH(1– 34) as a radioligand that binds to both the amino-terminal extracellular (N) and J domains of the PTHR. Binding was examined in membranes derived from cells expressing either wild-type or mutant PTHRs. We found that the binding of 125I-[Aib1,3,M]PTH(1–15) to the wild-type PTHR was strongly (∼90%) inhibited by guanosine 5′-O-(3-thio)triphosphate (GTPγS), whereas the binding of 125I-PTH(1–34) was only mildly (∼25%) inhibited by GTPγS. Of these two radioligands, only 125I-[Aib1,3,M]PTH(1–15) bound to PTHR-delNt, which lacks most of the receptor's N domain, and again this binding was strongly inhibited by GTPγS. Binding of 125I-[Aib1,3,M]PTH(1–15) to the constitutively active receptor, PTHR-H223R, was only mildly (∼20%) inhibited by GTPγS, as was the binding of 125I-PTH(1–34). In membranes prepared from cells lacking GαS via knockout mutation of Gnas, no binding of 125I-[Aib1,3,M]PTH(1–15) was observed, but binding of 125I-[Aib1,3,M]PTH(1–15) was recovered by virally transducing the cells to heterologously express GαS. 125I-PTH(1–34) bound to the membranes with or without GαS. The overall findings confirm the hypothesis that 125I-[Aib1,3,M]PTH(1–15) binds solely to the J domain of the PTHR. They further show that this binding is strongly dependent on coupling of the receptor to GαS-containing heterotrimeric G proteins, whereas the binding of 125I-PTH(1–34) can occur in the absence of such coupling. Thus, 125I-[Aib1,3,M]PTH(1–15) appears to function as a selective probe of GαS-coupled, active-state PTHR conformations.
PMCID: PMC3242416  PMID: 16339275
7.  Development of time-resolved fluorescent based [EU]-GTP binding assay for selection of human Histamine 3 receptor antagonists/inverse agonist: a potential target for Alzheimer’s treatment 
Annals of Neurosciences  2012;19(2):71-75.
The histamine H3 receptor is an attractive G protein–coupled receptor drug target that regulates neurotransmission in the central nervous system and plays a crucial role in cognitive and homeostatic functions. This receptor exhibits molecular, pharmacological, and functional heterogeneity that affects the preclinical development of effective antagonists. The range of assay technologies like radio isotope based [35S] GTPγS binding assay, luminescent based reporter gene assay (In-direct cAMP measurement) for binding and signaling have been developed in High Throughput Screening (HTS) laboratories for the identification of hit or lead compounds acting on H3 receptor.
The [35S] GTPγS binding assay still remains a useful and a simple technique to demonstrate receptor activation and is one of the few functional, cell-free assays that has set the standards in the field of research. However, its radioactive nature imposes clear limitations to its use in regular laboratory practice and in high-throughput experimentation.
Herein, we have developed and optimized a membrane based non-radioactive assay using a europium-labeled GTP analogue in which europium-GTP binding can be assayed using time-resolved fluorescence technology.
The characterization of H3 agonist or antagonist with HTRF platform has revealed a rank order potency (pEC50 & PKB) comparable to that from isotopic functional studies measured by liquid scintillation counter (LSC). Lastly, the Eu-GTP binding assay has been found to be highly robust (Z’ factor 0.84) with high percentage over basal counts.
This assay can be utilized as a component of cascade for the screening of H3 receptor ligands.
PMCID: PMC4117047  PMID: 25205969
Alzheimer’s disease; Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders; Histamine H3; Europium labeled Guanosine -5’ -triphosphate; HTS
8.  ADP-Ribosylation Factor 1 Transiently Activates High-Affinity Adaptor Protein Complex AP-1 Binding Sites On Golgi Membranes 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1998;9(6):1323-1337.
Association of the Golgi-specific adaptor protein complex 1 (AP-1) with the membrane is a prerequisite for clathrin coat assembly on the trans-Golgi network (TGN). The AP-1 adaptor is efficiently recruited from cytosol onto the TGN by myristoylated ADP-ribosylation factor 1 (ARF1) in the presence of the poorly hydrolyzable GTP analog guanosine 5′-O-(3-thiotriphosphate) (GTPγS). Substituting GTP for GTPγS, however, results in only poor AP-1 binding. Here we show that both AP-1 and clathrin can be recruited efficiently onto the TGN in the presence of GTP when cytosol is supplemented with ARF1. Optimal recruitment occurs at 4 μM ARF1 and with 1 mM GTP. The AP-1 recruited by ARF1·GTP is released from the Golgi membrane by treatment with 1 M Tris-HCl (pH 7) or upon reincubation at 37°C, whereas AP-1 recruited with GTPγS or by a constitutively active point mutant, ARF1(Q71L), remains membrane bound after either treatment. An incubation performed with added ARF1, GTP, and AlFn, used to block ARF GTPase-activating protein activity, results in membrane-associated AP-1, which is largely insensitive to Tris extraction. Thus, ARF1·GTP hydrolysis results in lower-affinity binding of AP-1 to the TGN. Using two-stage assays in which ARF1·GTP first primes the Golgi membrane at 37°C, followed by AP-1 binding on ice, we find that the high-affinity nucleating sites generated in the priming stage are rapidly lost. In addition, the AP-1 bound to primed Golgi membranes during a second-stage incubation on ice is fully sensitive to Tris extraction, indicating that the priming stage has passed the ARF1·GTP hydrolysis point. Thus, hydrolysis of ARF1·GTP at the priming sites can occur even before AP-1 binding. Our finding that purified clathrin-coated vesicles contain little ARF1 supports the concept that ARF1 functions in the coat assembly process rather than during the vesicle-uncoating step. We conclude that ARF1 is a limiting factor in the GTP-stimulated recruitment of AP-1 in vitro and that it appears to function in a stoichiometric manner to generate high-affinity AP-1 binding sites that have a relatively short half-life.
PMCID: PMC25353  PMID: 9614177
9.  Recognition of the activated states of Gα13 by the rgRGS domain of PDZRhoGEF 
Structure (London, England : 1993)  2008;16(10):1532-1543.
G12 class heterotrimeric G proteins stimulate RhoA activation by RGS-RhoGEFs. However, p115RhoGEF is a GTPase Activating Protein (GAP) towards Gα13 while PDZRhoGEF is not. We have characterized interaction between the PDZRhoGEF rgRGS domain (PRG-rgRGS) and the alpha subunit of G13, and determined crystal structures of their complexes in the inactive state bound to GDP, and in the active states bound to GDP·AlF (transition state) and GTPγS (Michaelis complex). PRG-rgRGS interacts extensively with the helical domain and the effector binding sites on Gα13 through contacts that are largely conserved in all three nucleotide-bound states, although PRG-rgRGS has highest affinity to the Michaelis complex. An acidic motif in the N-terminus of PRG-rgRGS occupies the GAP binding site of Gα13 and is flexible in the GDP·AlF complex, but well ordered in the GTPγS complex. Replacement of key residues in this motif with their counterparts in p115RhoGEF confers GAP activity.
PMCID: PMC2586972  PMID: 18940608
10.  Comparison of Peptidic and Nonpeptidic δ-Opioid Agonists on Guanosine 5′-O-(3-[35S]thio)triphosphate ([35S]GTPγS) Binding in Brain Slices from Sprague-Dawley Rats 
Previous studies have demonstrated that peptidic and nonpeptidic δ-opioid receptor agonists have different effects depending on the measure. For example, nonpeptidic δ-opioid agonists, but not peptidic agonists, produce convulsions in rats, and in vitro studies suggested that peptidic and nonpeptidic δ-opioid agonists might have differential mechanisms of receptor down-regulation. The present study evaluated potential differences between peptidic and nonpeptidic δ-opioid agonists in their ability to activate G proteins using guanosine 5′-O-(3-[35S]thio)triphosphate ([35S]GTPγS) autoradiography experiments in rat brain slices. The peptidic agonist [D-Pen2,D-Pen5]-enkephalin and the nonpeptidic agonist (+)BW373U86 [(+)-4-[α(R)-α-[(2S,5R)-2,5-dimethyl-4-(2-propenyl)-1-piperazinyl]-(3-hydroxyphenyl)methyl]-N,N-diethylbenzamide] demonstrated concentration-dependent increases in [35S]GTPγS binding that were attenuated by the δ-opioid antagonist naltrindole. (+)BW373U86 was more potent and efficacious than the peptidic agonist, and this difference remained consistent across brain regions where significant stimulation was observed. In addition, multiple δ-opioid compounds were evaluated for their agonist activity in this assay. These data suggested that differences between peptidic and nonpeptidic δ-opioid agonists in behavioral studies were most likely caused by differences in agonist efficacy. Finally, these data also revealed that [35S]GTPγS autoradiography could be used to compare efficacy differences among agonists across various brain regions in rat brain slices.
PMCID: PMC1780166  PMID: 15574687
[35S]GTPγS, 5′-O-(3-[35S]thio)triphosphate; DPDPE, [D-Pen2,D-Pen5]-enkephalin; SNC80, (+)-4-[α(R)-α-[(2S,5R)-2,5-dimethyl-4-(2-propenyl)-1-piperazinyl]-(3-methoxyphenyl)methyl]-N,N-diethylbenzamide; OMI, oxymorphindole; SIOM, spiroindanyloxymorphone; (+)BW373U86, (+)-4-[α(R)-α-[(2S,5R)-2,5-dimethyl-4-(2-propenyl)-1-piperazinyl]-(3-hydroxyphenyl)methyl]-N,N-diethylbenzamide; NSB, nonspecific binding; NTI, naltrindole; TAN67, 2-methyl-4aa-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-1,2,3,4,4a,5,12,12aα-octahydroquinolino[2,3,3-g]isoquinoline dihydrobro-mide (SB205607); FrCtx, frontal cortex; PCtx, prelimbic cortex; CCtx, cingulate cortex; NAcc nucleus accumbens; CP, caudate putamen; HPC, hippocampus; Amyg, amygdala; PirCtx, piriform cortex; Thal, thalamus; Hypothal, hypothalamus; SN, substantia nigra; PAG, periaqueductal gray; PN, pontine nuclei
11.  Differential Regulation of Secretory Compartments Containing the Insulin-responsive Glucose Transporter 4 in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1999;10(11):3675-3688.
Insulin and guanosine-5′-O-(3-thiotriphosphate) (GTPγS) both stimulate glucose transport and translocation of the insulin-responsive glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) to the plasma membrane in adipocytes. Previous studies suggest that these effects may be mediated by different mechanisms. In this study we have tested the hypothesis that these agonists recruit GLUT4 by distinct trafficking mechanisms, possibly involving mobilization of distinct intracellular compartments. We show that ablation of the endosomal system using transferrin-HRP causes a modest inhibition (∼30%) of insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation. In contrast, the GTPγS response was significantly attenuated (∼85%) under the same conditions. Introduction of a GST fusion protein encompassing the cytosolic tail of the v-SNARE cellubrevin inhibited GTPγS-stimulated GLUT4 translocation by ∼40% but had no effect on the insulin response. Conversely, a fusion protein encompassing the cytosolic tail of vesicle-associated membrane protein-2 had no significant effect on GTPγS-stimulated GLUT4 translocation but inhibited the insulin response by ∼40%. GTPγS- and insulin-stimulated GLUT1 translocation were both partially inhibited by GST-cellubrevin (∼50%) but not by GST-vesicle-associated membrane protein-2. Incubation of streptolysin O-permeabilized 3T3-L1 adipocytes with GTPγS caused a marked accumulation of Rab4 and Rab5 at the cell surface, whereas other Rab proteins (Rab7 and Rab11) were unaffected. These data are consistent with the localization of GLUT4 to two distinct intracellular compartments from which it can move to the cell surface independently using distinct sets of trafficking molecules.
PMCID: PMC25660  PMID: 10564264
12.  Cell-free Transport to Distinct Golgi Cisternae Is Compartment Specific and ARF Independent  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1998;140(3):511-523.
The small GTPase ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF) is absolutely required for coatomer vesicle formation on Golgi membranes but not for anterograde transport to the medial-Golgi in a mammalian in vitro transport system. This might indicate that the in vivo mechanism of intra-Golgi transport is not faithfully reproduced in vitro, or that intra-Golgi transport occurs by a nonvesicular mechanism. As one approach to distinguishing between these possibilities, we have characterized two additional cell-free systems that reconstitute transport to the trans-Golgi (trans assay) and trans-Golgi network (TGN assay). Like in vitro transport to the medial-Golgi (medial assay), transport to the trans-Golgi and TGN requires cytosol, ATP, and N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive fusion protein (NSF). However, each assay has its own distinct characteristics of transport. The kinetics of transport to late compartments are slower, and less cytosol is needed for guanosine-5′-O-(3-thiotriphosphate) (GTPγS) to inhibit transport, suggesting that each assay reconstitutes a distinct transport event. Depletion of ARF from cytosol abolishes vesicle formation and inhibition by GTPγS, but transport in all assays is otherwise unaffected. Purified recombinant myristoylated ARF1 restores inhibition by GTPγS, indicating that the GTP-sensitive component in all assays is ARF. We also show that asymmetry in donor and acceptor membrane properties in the medial assay is a unique feature of this assay that is unrelated to the production of vesicles. These findings demonstrate that characteristics specific to transport between different Golgi compartments are reconstituted in the cell-free system and that vesicle formation is not required for in vitro transport at any level of the stack.
PMCID: PMC2140162  PMID: 9456313
13.  Receptor-mediated changes at the myristoylated amino terminus of Gαil proteins† 
Biochemistry  2008;47(39):10281-10293.
GPCRs catalyze nucleotide release in heterotrimeric G proteins, the slow step in G protein activation. Gi/o family proteins are permanently, cotranslationally myristoylated at the extreme amino terminus. While myristoylation of the amino terminus has long been known to participate in anchoring Gi proteins to the membrane, the role of myristoylation in regards to interaction with activated receptors is not known. Previous studies have characterized activation-dependent changes in the amino terminus of Gα proteins in solution [Medkova, M. (2002) Biochemistry 41, 9963-9972; Preininger, A.M. (2003) Biochemistry 42, 7931-7941], but changes in the environment of specific residues within the Gαi1 amino terminus during receptor-mediated Gi activation has not been reported. Using site-specific fluorescent labeling of individual residues along a stretch of the Gαil amino terminus, we found specific changes in the environment of these residues upon interaction with activated receptor and following GTPγS binding. These changes map to a distinct surface of the amino-terminal helix opposite the Gβγ binding interface. The receptor-dependent fluorescent changes are consistent with a myristoylated amino terminus in close proximity to the membrane and/or receptor. Myristoylation affects both the rate and intensity of receptor activation-dependent changes detected at several residues along the amino terminus (with no significant effect on the rate of receptor-mediated GTPγS binding). This work demonstrates that the myristoylated amino terminus of Gαil proteins undergoes receptor-mediated changes during the dynamic process of G protein signaling.
PMCID: PMC2751642  PMID: 18771287
14.  Rab14 from Bombyx mori (Lepidoptera: Bombycidae) shows ATPase activity 
Biology Letters  2010;6(3):379-381.
Rab GTPases are essential for vesicular transport, whereas adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the most important and versatile of the activated carriers in the cell. But there are little reports to clarify the connection between ATP and Rab GTPases. A cDNA clone (Rab14) from Bombyx mori was expressed in Escherichia coli as a glutathione S-transferase fusion protein and purified. The protein bound to [3H]-GDP and [35S]-GTPγS. Binding of [35S]-GTPγS was inhibited by guanosine diphosphate (GDP), guanosine triphosphate (GTP) and ATP. Rab14 showed GTP- and ATP-hydrolysis activity. The Km value of Rab14 for ATP was lower than that for GTP. Human Rab14 also showed an ATPase activity. Furthermore, bound [3H]-GDP was exchanged efficiently with GTP and ATP. These results suggest that Rab14 is an ATPase as well as GTPase and gives Rab14 an exciting integrative function between cell metabolic status and membrane trafficking.
PMCID: PMC2880051  PMID: 20071392
Bombyx mori; ATP; Rab
15.  Functional Reconstitution of the Human Chemokine Receptor CXCR4 with Gi/Go-Proteins in Sf9 Insect Cells 
The chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) binds to the chemokine receptor CXCR4 that couples to pertussis toxin-sensitive G-proteins of the Gi/Go-family. CXCR4 plays a role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, human immunodeficiency virus infection and various tumors, fetal development as well as endothelial progenitor and T-cell recruitment. To this end, most CXCR4 studies have focused on the cellular level. The aim of this study was to establish a reconstitution system for the human CXCR4 that allows for the analysis of receptor/G-protein coupling at the membrane level. We wished to study specifically constitutive CXCR4 activity and the G-protein-specificity of CXCR4. We co-expressed N- and C-terminally epitope-tagged human CXCR4 with various Gi/Go-proteins and Regulator of G-Protein Signalling (RGS)-proteins in Sf9 insect cells. Expression of CXCR4, G-proteins and RGS-proteins was verified by immunoblotting. CXCR4 coupled more effectively to Gαi1 and Gαi2 than to Gαi3 and Gαo and insect cell G-proteins as assessed by SDF-1α-stimulated high-affinity steady-state GTP hydrolysis. The RGS-proteins RGS4 and GAIP enhanced SDF-1α-stimulated GTP hydrolysis. SDF-1α stimulated [35S]guanosine 5′-[γ-thio]triphosphate (GTPγS) binding to Gαi2. RGS4 did not enhance GTPγS binding. Na+ salts of halides did not reduce basal GTPase activity. The bicyclam, 1-[[1,4,8,11-tetrazacyclotetradec-1-ylmethyl)phenyl]methyl]-1,4,8,11-tetrazacyclotetradecane (AMD3100), acted as CXCR4 antagonist but was devoid of inverse agonistic activity. Halides reduced the maximum SDF-1α-stimulated GTP hydrolysis in the order of efficacy I− > Br− > Cl−. In addition, salts reduced the potency of SDF-1α at activating GTP hydrolysis. From our data we conclude the following. (i) Sf9 cells are a suitable system for expression of functionally intact human CXCR4. (ii) Human CXCR4 couples effectively to Gαi1 and Gαi2. (iii) There is no evidence for constitutive activity of CXCR4. (iv) RGS-proteins enhance agonist-stimulated GTP hydrolysis, showing that GTP hydrolysis becomes rate-limiting in the presence of SDF-1α. (v) By analogy to previous observations made for the β2-adrenoceptor coupled to Gs, the inhibitory effects of halides on agonist-stimulated GTP hydrolysis may be due to increased GDP-affinity of Gi-proteins, reducing the efficacy of CXCR4 at stimulating nucleotide exchange.
PMCID: PMC2574856  PMID: 18523757
Chemokine receptor; Stroma cell-derived factor-1α; Gi/Go-proteins; RGS-proteins; GTPase activity; Sf9 insect cells
16.  Exomer: a coat complex for transport of select membrane proteins from the trans-Golgi network to the plasma membrane in yeast 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2006;174(7):973-983.
Ayeast plasma membrane protein, Chs3p, transits to the mother–bud neck from a reservoir comprising the trans-Golgi network (TGN) and endosomal system. Two TGN/endosomal peripheral proteins, Chs5p and Chs6p, and three Chs6p paralogues form a complex that is required for the TGN to cell surface transport of Chs3p. The role of these peripheral proteins has not been clear, and we now provide evidence that they create a coat complex required for the capture of membrane proteins en route to the cell surface. Sec7p, a Golgi protein required for general membrane traffic and functioning as a nucleotide exchange factor for the guanosine triphosphate (GTP)–binding protein Arf1p, is required to recruit Chs5p to the TGN surface in vivo. Recombinant forms of Chs5p, Chs6p, and the Chs6p paralogues expressed in baculovirus form a complex of approximately 1 MD that binds synthetic liposomes in a reaction requiring acidic phospholipids, Arf1p, and the nonhydrolyzable GTPγS. The complex remains bound to liposomes centrifuged on a sucrose density gradient. Thin section electron microscopy reveals a spiky coat structure on liposomes incubated with the full complex, Arf1p, and GTPγS. We termed the novel coat exomer for its role in exocytosis from the TGN to the cell surface. Unlike other coats (e.g., coat protein complex I, II, and clathrin/adaptor protein complex), the exomer does not form buds or vesicles on liposomes.
PMCID: PMC2064389  PMID: 17000877
17.  Massive calcium–activated endocytosis without involvement of classical endocytic proteins 
The Journal of General Physiology  2011;137(1):111-132.
We describe rapid massive endocytosis (MEND) of >50% of the plasmalemma in baby hamster kidney (BHK) and HEK293 cells in response to large Ca transients. Constitutively expressed Na/Ca exchangers (NCX1) are used to generate Ca transients, whereas capacitance recording and a membrane tracer dye, FM 4–64, are used to monitor endocytosis. With high cytoplasmic adenosine triphosphate (ATP; >5 mM), Ca influx causes exocytosis followed by MEND. Without ATP, Ca transients cause only exocytosis. MEND can then be initiated by pipette perfusion of ATP, and multiple results indicate that ATP acts via phosphatidylinositol-bis 4,5-phosphate (PIP2) synthesis: PIP2 substitutes for ATP to induce MEND. ATP-activated MEND is blocked by an inositol 5-phosphatase and by guanosine 5′-[γ-thio]triphosphate (GTPγS). Block by GTPγS is overcome by the phospholipase C inhibitor, U73122, and PIP2 induces MEND in the presence of GTPγS. MEND can occur in the absence of ATP and PIP2 when cytoplasmic free Ca is clamped to 10 µM or more by Ca-buffered solutions. ATP-independent MEND occurs within seconds during Ca transients when cytoplasmic solutions contain polyamines (e.g., spermidine) or the membrane is enriched in cholesterol. Although PIP2 and cholesterol can induce MEND minutes after Ca transients have subsided, polyamines must be present during Ca transients. MEND can reverse over minutes in an ATP-dependent fashion. It is blocked by brief β-methylcyclodextrin treatments, and tests for involvement of clathrin, dynamins, calcineurin, and actin cytoskeleton were negative. Therefore, we turned to the roles of lipids. Bacterial sphingomyelinases (SMases) cause similar MEND responses within seconds, suggesting that ceramide may be important. However, Ca-activated MEND is not blocked by reagents that inhibit SMases. MEND is abolished by the alkylating phospholipase A2 inhibitor, bromoenol lactone, whereas exocytosis remains robust, and Ca influx causes MEND in cardiac myocytes without preceding exocytosis. Thus, exocytosis is not prerequisite for MEND. From these results and two companion studies, we suggest that Ca promotes the formation of membrane domains that spontaneously vesiculate to the cytoplasmic side.
PMCID: PMC3010057  PMID: 21187336
18.  Mammalian Dynamin-like Protein DLP1 Tubulates Membranes 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2001;12(9):2894-2905.
Dynamins are large GTPases with mechanochemical properties that are known to constrict and tubulate membranes. A recently identified mammalian dynamin-like protein (DLP1) is essential for the proper cellular distribution of mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum in cultured cells. In this study, we investigated the ability of DLP1 to remodel membranes similar to conventional dynamin. We found that the expression of a GTPase-defective mutant, DLP1-K38A, in cultured cells led to the formation of large cytoplasmic aggregates. Electron microscopy (EM) of cells expressing DLP1-K38A revealed that these aggregates were comprised of membrane tubules of a consistent diameter. High-magnification EM revealed the presence of many regular striations along individual membrane tubules, and immunogold labeling confirmed the association of DLP1 with these structures. Biochemical experiments with the use of recombinant DLP1 and labeled GTP demonstrated that DLP1-K38A binds but does not hydrolyze or release GTP. Furthermore, the affinity of DLP1-K38A for membrane is increased compared with wild-type DLP1. To test whether DLP1 could tubulate membrane in vitro, recombinant DLP1 was combined with synthetic liposomes and nucleotides. We found that DLP1 protein alone assembled into sedimentable macromolecular structures in the presence of guanosine-5′-O-(3-thio)triphosphate (GTPγS) but not GTP. EM of the GTPγS-treated DLP1 revealed clusters of stacked helical ring structures. When liposomes were included with DLP1, formation of long membrane tubules similar in size to those formed in vivo was observed. Addition of GTPγS greatly enhanced membrane tubule formation, suggesting the GTP-bound form of DLP1 deforms liposomes into tubules as the DLP1-K38A does in vivo. These results provide the first evidence that the dynamin family member, DLP1, is able to tubulate membranes both in living cells and in vitro. Furthermore, these findings also indicate that despite the limited homology to conventional dynamins (35%) these proteins remodel membranes in a similar manner.
PMCID: PMC59722  PMID: 11553726
19.  α2-Adrenoceptor Functionality in Postmortem Frontal Cortex of Depressed Suicide Victims 
Biological psychiatry  2010;68(9):869-872.
Alterations in brain density and signaling associated with monoamine receptors are believed to play a role in depressive disorders. This study evaluates the functional status of α2A-adrenoceptors in postmortem frontal cortex of depressed subjects.
G-protein activation and inhibition of adenylyl cyclase (AC) activity induced by the α2-adrenoceptor agonist UK14304 were measured in triplicate in samples from 15 suicide victims with an antemortem diagnosis of major depression and 15 matched control subjects.
Basal [35S] guanosine γ thio-phosphate (GTPγS) binding and cyclic adenosine monophosphate accumulation did not differ between groups. In depressed victims, an increase in [35S] GTPγS binding potency (EC50 = .58 μmol/L vs. EC50 = 3.31 μmol/L; p < .01; depressed vs. control) and a significant reduction in the maximal inhibition of AC activity (Imax = 27 ± 4% vs. Imax = 47 ± 5%; p < .01) were observed after incubation with the α2-adrenoceptor agonist UK14304. No differences were found between antidepressant-free and antidepressant-treated subjects. A significant relationship between EC50 values for [35S] GTPγS and Imax values for AC assay was found (n = 30; r = −.43; p < .05).
The dual regulation of α2A-adrenoceptor signaling pathways raises the possibility that factors affecting the G-protein cycle and/or selective access of Gαi/o–protein to AC might be relevant to receptor abnormalities in depression, providing further support for the involvement of α2A-adrenoceptors in the pathogenesis of depression.
PMCID: PMC3562997  PMID: 20864091
adenylyl cyclase; α2-adrenoceptor; cAMP; depression; G-protein; human brain
20.  Dose-Related Differences in the Regional Pattern of Cannabinoid Receptor Adaptation and in Vivo Tolerance Development to Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol 
Chronic treatment with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) produces tolerance to cannabinoid-mediated behaviors and region-specific adaptation of brain cannabinoid receptors. However, the relationship between receptor adaptation and tolerance is not well understood, and the dose-response relationship of THC-induced cannabinoid receptor adaptation is unknown. This study assessed cannabinoid receptor function in the brain and cannabinoid-mediated behaviors after chronic treatment with different dosing regimens of THC. Mice were treated twice per day for 6.5 days with the following: vehicle, 10 mg/kg THC, or escalating doses of 10 to 20 to 30 or 10 to 30 to 60 mg/kg THC. Tolerance to cannabinoid-mediated locomotor inhibition, ring immobility, antinociception, and hypothermia was produced by both ramping THC-dose paradigms. Administration of 10 mg/kg THC produced less tolerance development, the magnitude of which depended upon the particular behavior. Decreases in cannabinoid-mediated G-protein activation, which varied with treatment dose and region, were observed in autoradiographic and membrane guanosine 5′-O-(3-[35S]thio)triphosphate ([35S]GTPγS)-binding assays in brains from THC-treated mice. Agonist-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding was reduced in the hippocampus, cingulate cortex, periaqueductal gray, and cerebellum after all treatments. Decreased agonist-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding in the caudate-putamen, nucleus accumbens, and preoptic area occurred only after administration of 10 to 30 to 60 mg/kg THC, and no change was found in the globus pallidus or entopeduncular nucleus after any treatment. Changes in the CB1 receptor Bmax values also varied by region, with hippocampus and cerebellum showing reductions after all treatments and striatum/globus pallidus showing effects only at higher dosing regimens. These results reveal that tolerance and CB1 receptor adaptation exhibit similar dose-dependent development, and they are consistent with previous studies demonstrating less cannabinoid receptor adaptation in striatal circuits.
PMCID: PMC2637548  PMID: 17967938
21.  S-Nitrosothiols modulate G protein-coupled receptor signaling in a reversible and highly receptor-specific manner 
BMC Cell Biology  2005;6:21.
Recent studies indicate that the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling machinery can serve as a direct target of reactive oxygen species, including nitric oxide (NO) and S-nitrosothiols (RSNOs). To gain a broader view into the way that receptor-dependent G protein activation – an early step in signal transduction – might be affected by RSNOs, we have studied several receptors coupling to the Gi family of G proteins in their native cellular environment using the powerful functional approach of [35S]GTPγS autoradiography with brain cryostat sections in combination with classical G protein activation assays.
We demonstrate that RSNOs, like S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) and S-nitrosocysteine (CysNO), can modulate GPCR signaling via reversible, thiol-sensitive mechanisms probably involving S-nitrosylation. RSNOs are capable of very targeted regulation, as they potentiate the signaling of some receptors (exemplified by the M2/M4 muscarinic cholinergic receptors), inhibit others (P2Y12 purinergic, LPA1lysophosphatidic acid, and cannabinoid CB1 receptors), but may only marginally affect signaling of others, such as adenosine A1, μ-opioid, and opiate related receptors. Amplification of M2/M4 muscarinic responses is explained by an accelerated rate of guanine nucleotide exchange, as well as an increased number of high-affinity [35S]GTPγS binding sites available for the agonist-activated receptor. GSNO amplified human M4 receptor signaling also under heterologous expression in CHO cells, but the effect diminished with increasing constitutive receptor activity. RSNOs markedly inhibited P2Y12 receptor signaling in native tissues (rat brain and human platelets), but failed to affect human P2Y12 receptor signaling under heterologous expression in CHO cells, indicating that the native cellular signaling partners, rather than the P2Y12 receptor protein, act as a molecular target for this action.
These in vitro studies show for the first time in a broader general context that RSNOs are capable of modulating GPCR signaling in a reversible and highly receptor-specific manner. Given that the enzymatic machinery responsible for endogenous NO production is located in close proximity with the GPCR signaling complex, especially with that for several receptors whose signaling is shown here to be modulated by exogenous RSNOs, our data suggest that GPCR signaling in vivo is likely to be subject to substantial, and highly receptor-specific modulation by NO-derived RSNOs.
PMCID: PMC1090567  PMID: 15850493
22.  Luciferase Reporter Gene Assay on Human, Murine and Rat Histamine H4 Receptor Orthologs: Correlations and Discrepancies between Distal and Proximal Readouts 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73961.
The investigation of the (patho)physiological role of the histamine H4 receptor (H4R) and its validation as a possible drug target in translational animal models are compromised by distinct species-dependent discrepancies regarding potencies and receptor subtype selectivities of the pharmacological tools. Such differences were extremely pronounced in case of proximal readouts, e. g. [32P]GTPase or [35S]GTPγS binding assays. To improve the predictability of in vitro investigations, the aim of this study was to establish a reporter gene assay for human, murine and rat H4Rs, using bioluminescence as a more distal readout. For this purpose a cAMP responsive element (CRE) controlled luciferase reporter gene assay was established in HEK293T cells, stably expressing the human (h), the mouse (m) or the rat (r) H4R. The potencies and efficacies of 23 selected ligands (agonists, inverse agonists and antagonists) were determined and compared with the results obtained from proximal readouts. The potencies of the examined ligands at the human H4R were consistent with reported data from [32P]GTPase or [35S]GTPγS binding assays, despite a tendency toward increased intrinsic efficacies of partial agonists. The differences in potencies of individual agonists at the three H4R orthologs were generally less pronounced compared to more proximal readouts. In conclusion, the established reporter gene assay is highly sensitive and reliable. Regarding discrepancies compared to data from functional assays such as [32P]GTPase and [35S]GTPγS binding, the readout may reflect multifactorial causes downstream from G-protein activation, e.g. activation/amplification of or cross-talk between different signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC3759464  PMID: 24023919
23.  Neonatal 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) exposure alters neuronal protein kinase A activity, serotonin and dopamine content, and [35S]GTPγS binding in adult rats 
Brain research  2006;1077(1):178-186.
Recreational use of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) has dramatically increased among juveniles and young adults of child-bearing age, and the potential for fetal exposure has increased. For this reason, it is surprising that comparatively few studies have assessed the long-term impact of early MDMA exposure on serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) neurotransmitter systems. The purpose of this study was to determine whether repeated exposure to MDMA during the preweanling period would cause long-term changes in 5-HT and DA functioning. Rats were treated with saline or 20 mg/kg MDMA (two injections per day) from postnatal day (PD) 11–20. At PD 90, rats were killed, and their dorsal striatum, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus were removed. 5-HT and DA content, as well as their metabolites, were measured using HPLC. In addition, cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) activity and agonist-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding was assayed using tissue homogenates from each brain region. Results indicated that early MDMA exposure caused a decrease in PKA activity and 5-HT content in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus while increasing the efficacy of 5-HT1A receptors as measured by agonist-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding. Additionally, DA content was reduced in the dorsal striatum and prefrontal cortex. These data indicate that early MDMA exposure has long-term effects on the 5-HT and DA neurotransmitter systems that may be mediated, at least partially, by changes in 5-HT1A receptor sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC2888305  PMID: 16483555
MDMA; Ecstasy; Protein kinase A; Ontogeny; Serotonin; 5-HT1A receptors
24.  Effect of Iboga Alkaloids on µ-Opioid Receptor-Coupled G Protein Activation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77262.
The iboga alkaloids are a class of small molecules defined structurally on the basis of a common ibogamine skeleton, some of which modify opioid withdrawal and drug self-administration in humans and preclinical models. These compounds may represent an innovative approach to neurobiological investigation and development of addiction pharmacotherapy. In particular, the use of the prototypic iboga alkaloid ibogaine for opioid detoxification in humans raises the question of whether its effect is mediated by an opioid agonist action, or if it represents alternative and possibly novel mechanism of action. The aim of this study was to independently replicate and extend evidence regarding the activation of μ-opioid receptor (MOR)-related G proteins by iboga alkaloids.
Ibogaine, its major metabolite noribogaine, and 18-methoxycoronaridine (18-MC), a synthetic congener, were evaluated by agonist-stimulated guanosine-5´-O-(γ-thio)-triphosphate ([35S]GTPγS) binding in cells overexpressing the recombinant MOR, in rat thalamic membranes, and autoradiography in rat brain slices.
Results And Significance
In rat thalamic membranes ibogaine, noribogaine and 18-MC were MOR antagonists with functional Ke values ranging from 3 uM (ibogaine) to 13 uM (noribogaine and 18MC). Noribogaine and 18-MC did not stimulate [35S]GTPγS binding in Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing human or rat MORs, and had only limited partial agonist effects in human embryonic kidney cells expressing mouse MORs. Ibogaine did not did not stimulate [35S]GTPγS binding in any MOR expressing cells. Noribogaine did not stimulate [35S]GTPγS binding in brain slices using autoradiography. An MOR agonist action does not appear to account for the effect of these iboga alkaloids on opioid withdrawal. Taken together with existing evidence that their mechanism of action also differs from that of other non-opioids with clinical effects on opioid tolerance and withdrawal, these findings suggest a novel mechanism of action, and further justify the search for alternative targets of iboga alkaloids.
PMCID: PMC3818563  PMID: 24204784
25.  Regulation of cortical and hippocampal 5-HT1A receptor function by corticosterone in GR+/− mice 
Psychoneuroendocrinology  2009;35(3):10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.08.015.
Our objective in the present study was to examine 5-HT1A receptor function in prefrontal cortex and hippocampus of GR+/− mice, which appear to be an appropriate murine model of depression. 5-HT1A receptor function was determined by measuring [35S]GTPγS binding stimulated by the 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-OH-DPAT (1 μM), an indication of the capacity of the receptor to activate G proteins. 5-HT1A receptor expression was determined by measuring the binding of [3H]8-OH-DPAT (2 nM). We observed no effect of the constitutive reduction in GR on 5-HT1A receptor-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding or 5-HT1A receptor binding sites. Corticosterone treatment (10 mg/kg, sc once daily for 21 days) of wild-type mice resulted in a decrease in 5-HT1A receptor function in prefrontal cortex [8-OH-DPAT-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding (% above basal), vehicle-treated: 39±4.9; corticosterone-treated: 17±2.8], but not in hippocampus. The constitutive reduction in GR expression prevented the down-regulation of 5-HT1A receptor function in frontal cortex by chronic corticosterone administration. In contrast, corticosterone treatment of GR+/− mice resulted in an increase in 5-HT1A receptor function in hippocampus which reached statistical significance in CA2/3 region [8-OH-DPAT-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding (% above basal), vehicle-treated: 41±9.7; corticosterone-treated: 94±23]. These changes seem to be evoked by a combined effect of high corticosterone levels and GR deficiency. Although GR+/− mice do not exhibit changes in baseline corticosterone, the constitutive deficiency in GR appears to have unmasked regulatory effects of elevated corticosterone in the maintenance of 5-HT1A receptor function in prefrontal cortex and hippocampus.
PMCID: PMC3816533  PMID: 19766402
glucocorticoid receptor; quantitative autoradiography; serotonin; corticosterone; major depression; [35S]GTPγS binding

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