Motile cilia of airway epithelial cells help to expel harmful inhaled material. Activation of bitterant-responsive G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is believed to potentiate cilia beat frequency and mucociliary clearance. In this study, we investigated whether regulator of G protein signaling-21 (RGS21) has the potential to modulate signaling pathways connected to airway mucociliary clearance, given that RGS proteins modulate GPCR signaling by acting as GTPase-accelerating proteins (GAPs) for the Gα subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins.
This is a pilot investigation to determine if RGS21, a potential tastant specific RGS gene, is expressed in sinonasal mucosa, and to determine its specific Gα substrate using in vitro biochemical assays with purified proteins.
Rgs21 expression in sinonasal mucosa was determined using quantitative, real-time PCR and a transgenic mouse expressing RFP from the Rgs21 promoter. Rgs21 was cloned, over-expressed, and purified using multistep protein chromatography. Biochemical and biophysical assays were used to determine if RGS21 could bind and accelerate the hydrolysis of GTP on heterotrimeric Gα subunits.
Rgs21 was expressed in sinonasal mucosa and lingual epithelium. Purified recombinant protein directly bound and accelerated GTP hydrolysis on Gα subunits.
Rgs21 is expressed in sinonasal mucosa, is amenable to purification as a recombinant protein, and can bind to Gαi/o/q subunits. Furthermore, RGS21 can accelerate the hydrolysis rate of GTP on Gαi subunits. This provides evidence that RGS21 may be a negative regulator of bitterant responses. Future studies will be needed to determine the physiological role of this protein in mucociliary clearance.
Regulators of G protein signaling (RGS); G proteins; gustation
Thyroglossal duct cysts (TGDCs) are epithelial rests of the thyroid gland left during embryologic descent from the tongue base. Thyroglossal duct cysts confined to the tongue base alone are even more unusual. We present a case of a 45-year-old woman who presented with complaints of sore throat, globus, and throat clearing for 10 years. On examination she was found to have a 2 × 1.5-cm cystic-appearing mass, left of midline in the vallecula. The patient had a transoral robotic resection of this vallecular cyst, which was subsequently found to be a lingual TGDC. We believe this is the first reported case of a TGDC that was successfully excised using a transoral robotic approach.
Robotic surgery; Thyroglossal duct cyst; Minimally invasive; Transoral
G-protein signaling pathways, as key components of physiologic responsiveness and timing, are frequent targets for pharmacologic intervention. Here, we identify an effector for heterotrimeric G-protein α subunit (EhGα1) signaling from Entamoeba histolytica, the causative agent of amoebic colitis. EhGα1 interacts with this effector and GTPase-accelerating protein (GAP), EhRGS-RhoGEF, in a nucleotide state-selective fashion. Co-expression of EhRGS-RhoGEF with constitutively active EhGα1 and EhRacC leads to Rac-dependent spreading in Drosophila S2 cells. EhRGS-RhoGEF overexpression in E. histolytica trophozoites leads to reduced migration toward serum and lower cysteine protease activity, as well as reduced attachment to, and killing of, host cells. A 2.3 Å crystal structure of the full-length EhRGS-RhoGEF reveals a putative inhibitory helix engaging the DH domain Rho-binding surface and the PH domain. Mutational analysis of the EhGα1/EhRGS-RhoGEF interface confirms a canonical RGS domain rather than a RhoGEF-RGS (“rgRGS”) domain, suggesting a convergent evolution toward heterotrimeric and small G-protein cross-talk.
The nasoseptal flap provides hearty, vascularized tissue for reconstruction of Expanded Endonasal Approaches (EEA); however, it produces donor site morbidity due to exposed cartilage. Mucosalization of the septum requires 12 weeks, multiple debridements, and frequent saline rinses. This study addresses the reduction of nasal morbidity by grafting middle turbinate mucosa onto the exposed septum.
15 patients undergoing EEA of the ventral skull base were prospectively enrolled. In seven cases, the sacrificed middle turbinate mucosa was harvested and placed as a free mucosal graft on the septal cartilage. In eight controls middle turbinate grafting was not performed due to tumor involvement. Septal mucosalization and crusting of all patients was quantified at follow-up appointments. An additional 46 patients were retrospectively identified who received middle turbinate grating on their exposed septal cartilage and mucosalization rates determined from clinical records.
Three weeks after initial operation, the mucosalization rate was 70% versus 5% in the graft and non-graft groups, respectively. At post-operative week six, the mucosalization and crusting were 97% and 5% for the graft group versus 60% and 85% for the non-graft group. Mucosalization rates in the retrospective graft series agreed with the prospective series.
Despite donor site morbidity, the nasoseptal flap is becoming the standard of care for skull base reconstruction due to its reliability in reestablishing a barrier between the subarachnoid space and the sinonasal tract. It is possible to dramatically increase the rate of septal mucosalization and decrease crusting by using a middle turbinate free mucosal graft.
Level of Evidence
Skull base reconstruction; nasoseptal flap; free mucosal graft; middle turbinate graft
Heterotrimeric G-protein signaling pathways are vital components of physiology, and many are amenable to pharmacologic manipulation. Here, we identify functional heterotrimeric G-protein subunits in Entamoeba histolytica, the causative agent of amoebic colitis. The E. histolytica Gα subunit EhGα1 exhibits conventional nucleotide cycling properties and is seen to interact with EhGβγ dimers and a candidate effector, EhRGS-RhoGEF, in typical, nucleotide-state-selective fashions. In contrast, a crystal structure of EhGα1 highlights unique features and classification outside of conventional mammalian Gα subfamilies. E. histolytica trophozoites overexpressing wildtype EhGα1 in an inducible manner exhibit an enhanced ability to kill host cells that may be wholly or partially due to enhanced host cell attachment. EhGα1-overexpressing trophozoites also display enhanced transmigration across a Matrigel barrier, an effect that may result from altered baseline migration. Inducible expression of a dominant negative EhGα1 variant engenders the converse phenotypes. Transcriptomic studies reveal that modulation of pathogenesis-related trophozoite behaviors by perturbed heterotrimeric G-protein expression includes transcriptional regulation of virulence factors and altered trafficking of cysteine proteases. Collectively, our studies suggest that E. histolytica possesses a divergent heterotrimeric G-protein signaling axis that modulates key aspects of cellular processes related to the pathogenesis of this infectious organism.
Entamoeba histolytica causes an estimated 50 million intestinal infections and 100,000 deaths per year worldwide. Here, we identify functional heterotrimeric G-protein subunits in Entamoeba histolytica, constituting a signaling pathway which, when perturbed, is seen to regulate multiple cellular processes required for pathogenesis. Like mammalian counterparts, EhGα1 forms a heterotrimer with EhGβγ that is dependent on guanine nucleotide exchange and hydrolysis. Despite engaging a classical G-protein effector, EhRGS-RhoGEF, EhGα1 diverges from mammalian Gα subunits and cannot be classified within mammalian Gα subfamilies, as highlighted by distinct structural features in our crystal structure of EhGα1 in the inactive conformation. To identify roles of G-protein signaling in pathogenesis-related cellular processes, we engineered trophozoites for inducible expression of EhGα1 or a dominant negative mutant, finding that G-protein signaling perturbation affects host cell attachment and the related process of contact-dependent killing, as well as trophozoite migration and Matrigel transmigration. A transcriptomic comparison of our engineered strains revealed differential expression of known virulence-associated genes, including amoebapores and cytotoxic cysteine proteases. The expression data suggested, and biochemical experiments confirmed, that cysteine protease secretion is altered upon G-protein overexpression, identifying a mechanism by which pathogenesis-related trophozoite behaviors are perturbed. In summary, E. histolytica encodes a vital heterotrimeric G-protein signaling pathway that is likely amenable to pharmacologic manipulation.
Heterotrimeric G-proteins are molecular switches integral to a panoply of different physiological responses that many organisms make to environmental cues. The switch from inactive to active Gαβγ heterotrimer relies on nucleotide cycling by the Gα subunit: exchange of GTP for GDP activates Gα, whereas its intrinsic enzymatic activity catalyzes GTP hydrolysis to GDP and inorganic phosphate, thereby reverting Gα to its inactive state. In several genetic studies of filamentous fungi, such as the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, a G42R mutation in the phosphate-binding loop of Gα subunits is assumed to be GTPase-deficient and thus constitutively active. Here, we demonstrate that Gα(G42R) mutants are not GTPase deficient, but rather incapable of achieving the activated conformation. Two crystal structure models suggest that Arg-42 prevents a typical switch region conformational change upon Gαi1(G42R) binding to GDP·AlF4− or GTP, but rotameric flexibility at this locus allows for unperturbed GTP hydrolysis. Gα(G42R) mutants do not engage the active state-selective peptide KB-1753 nor RGS domains with high affinity, but instead favor interaction with Gβγ and GoLoco motifs in any nucleotide state. The corresponding Gαq(G48R) mutant is not constitutively active in cells and responds poorly to aluminum tetrafluoride activation. Comparative analyses of M. oryzae strains harboring either G42R or GTPase-deficient Q/L mutations in the Gα subunits MagA or MagB illustrate functional differences in environmental cue processing and intracellular signaling outcomes between these two Gα mutants, thus demonstrating the in vivo functional divergence of G42R and activating G-protein mutants.
Heterotrimeric G-proteins function as molecular switches to convey cellular signals. When a G-protein coupled receptor encounters its ligand at the cellular membrane, it catalyzes guanine nucleotide exchange on the Gα subunit, resulting in a shift from an inactive to an active conformation. G-protein signaling pathways are conserved from mammals to plants and fungi, including the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. A mutation in the Gα subunit (G42R), previously thought to eliminate its GTPase activity, leading to constitutive activation, has been utilized to investigate roles of heterotrimeric G-protein signaling pathways in multiple species of filamentous fungi. Here, we demonstrate through structural, biochemical, and cellular approaches that G42R mutants are neither GTPase deficient nor constitutively active, but rather are unable to transition to the activated conformation. A direct comparison of M. oryzae fungal strains harboring either G42R or truly constitutively activating mutations in two Gα subunits, MagA and MagB, revealed markedly different phenotypes. Our results suggest that activation of MagB is critical for pathogenic development of M. oryzae in response to hydrophobic surfaces, such as plant leaves. Furthermore, the lack of constitutive activity by Gα(G42R) mutants prompts a re-evaluation of its use in previous genetic experiments in multiple fungal species.
Over the last 10 years, it has become clear that patients with head and neck cancer can be stratified into two distinct subgroups on the basis of the etiology of their disease. Patients with human papillomavirus-related cancers have significantly better survival rates and may necessitate different therapeutic approaches than those with tobacco and/or alcohol related cancers. This review discusses the various biomarkers currently in use for identification of patients with HPV-positive cancers with a focus on the advantages and limitations of molecular and nano-scale markers.
human papillomavirus; head and neck cancer; in situ hybridization; next generation sequencing; biomarkers
The mainstay of assessing guanosine diphosphate release by the α-subunit of a heterotrimeric G-protein is the [35S]guanosine 5′-O-(3-thiotriphosphate) (GTPγS) radionucleotide-binding assay. This assay requires separation of protein-bound GTPγS from free GTPγS at multiple time points followed by quantification via liquid scintillation. The arduous nature of this assay makes it difficult to quickly characterize multiple mutants, determine the effects of individual variables (e.g., temperature and Mg2+ concentration) on nucleotide exchange, or screen for small molecule modulators of Gα nucleotide binding/cycling properties. Here, we describe a robust, homogeneous, fluorescence polarization assay using a red-shifted fluorescent GTPγS probe that can rapidly determine the rate of GTPγS binding by Gα subunits.
Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) is a robust method to detect and quantify macromolecular interactions; however, to measure binding interactions, one component must be immobilized on a sensor surface. This is typically achieved using covalent immobilization via free amines or thiols, or noncovalent immobilization using high affinity interactions such as biotin/streptavidin or antibody/antigen. In this Chapter we describe a robust method to covalently immobilize His6 fusion proteins on the sensor surface for SPR analysis.
Biacore; SPR; Capture Coupling; Immobilization; Hexahistidine; His-tag
Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) is a highly sensitive method for the detection of molecular interactions. One interacting partner is immobilized on the sensor chip surface while the other is injected across the sensor surface. This chapter focuses on high affinity immobilization of protein substrates for affinity and kinetic analyses using biotin/streptavidin interaction and GST/anti-GST-antibody interaction.
BIAcore 3000; Biotin; Streptavidin; GST; High-Affinity Immobilization; SPR
RGS proteins are critical modulators of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling given their ability to deactivate Gα subunits via “GTPase-accelerating protein” (GAP) activity. Their selectivity for specific GPCRs makes them attractive therapeutic targets. However, measuring GAP activity is complicated by slow GDP release from Gα and lack of solution-phase assays for detecting free GDP in the presence of excess GTP. To overcome these hurdles, we developed a Gαi1 mutant with increased GDP dissociation and decreased GTP hydrolysis, enabling detection of GAP activity using steady-state GTP hydrolysis. Gαi1(R178M/A326S) GTPase activity was stimulated 6~12 fold by RGS proteins known to act on Gαi subunits, and not affected by those unable to act on Gαi, demonstrating that the Gα/RGS domain interaction selectivity was not altered by mutation. Gαi1(R178M/A326S) interacted with RGS proteins with expected binding specificity and affinities. To enable non-radioactive, homogenous detection of RGS protein effects on Gαi1(R178M/A326S), we developed a Transcreener® fluorescence polarization immunoassay based on a monoclonal antibody that recognizes GDP with greater than 100-fold selectivity over GTP. Combining Gαi1(R178M/A326S) with a homogenous, fluorescence-based GDP detection assay provides a facile means to explore the targeting of RGS proteins as a new approach for selective modulation of GPCR signaling.
Fluorescence polarization; GDP detection; regulators of G-protein signaling; surface plasmon resonance
Heterotrimeric G proteins (Gαβγ) transmit signals from activated G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) to downstream effectors through a guanine nucleotide signaling cycle. Numerous studies indicate that the carboxy-terminal α5 helix of Gα subunits participate in Gα-receptor binding, and previous EPR studies suggest this receptor-mediated interaction induces a rotation and translation of the α5 helix of the Gα subunit [Oldham et al., Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol., 13: 772-7 (2006)]. Based on this result, an engineered disulfide bond was designed to constrain the α5 helix of Gαi1 into its EPR-measured receptor-associated conformation through the introduction of cysteines at positions 56 in the α1 helix and 333 in the α5 helix (I56C/Q333C Gαi1). A functional mimetic of the EPR-measured α5 helix dipole movement upon receptor association was additionally created by introduction of a positive charge at the amino-terminus of this helix, D328R Gαi1. Both proteins exhibit dramatically elevated basal nucleotide exchange. The 2.9 Å resolution crystal structure of the I56C/Q333C Gαi1 in complex with GDP-AlF4 − reveals the shift of the α5 helix toward the guanine nucleotide-binding site that is anticipated by EPR measurements. The structure of the I56C/Q333C Gαi1 subunit further revealed altered positions for the switch regions and throughout the Gαi1 subunit, accompanied by significantly elevated crystallographic temperature factors. Combined with previous evidence in the literature, the structural analysis supports the critical role of electrostatics of the α5 helix dipole and overall conformational variability during nucleotide release.
A critical role of the Gβγ dimer in heterotrimeric G-protein signaling is to facilitate engagement and activation of the Gα subunit by cell-surface G protein-coupled receptors. However, high-resolution structural information of the connectivity between receptor and Gβγ has not previously been available. Here, we describe the structural determinants of Gβ1γ2 in complex with a C-terminal region of the parathyroid hormone receptor-1 (PTH1R) as obtained by x-ray crystallography. The structure reveals that several critical residues within PTH1R contact solely Gβ residues located within the outer edge of WD1 and WD7 repeat segments of the Gβ toroid structure. These regions encompass a predicted membrane-facing region of Gβ thought to be oriented in a fashion that is accessible to the membrane-spanning receptor. Mutation of key receptor contact residues on Gβ1 lead to a selective loss-of-function in receptor/heterotrimer coupling while preserving Gβ1γ2 activation of the effector phospholipase-C beta.
Heterotrimeric G-proteins are a class of signal transduction proteins highly conserved throughout evolution that serve as dynamic molecular switches regulating the intracellular communication initiated by extracellular signals including sensory information. This property is achieved by a guanine nucleotide cycle wherein the inactive, signaling-incompetent Gα subunit is normally bound to GDP; activation to signaling-competent Gα occurs through the exchange of GDP for GTP (typically catalyzed via seven-transmembrane domain G-protein coupled receptors [GPCRs]), which dissociates the Gβγ dimer from Gα-GTP and initiates signal transduction. The hydrolysis of GTP, greatly accelerated by “Regulator of G-protein Signaling” (RGS) proteins, returns Gα to its inactive GDP-bound form and terminates signaling. Through extensive characterization of mammalian Gα isoforms, the rate-limiting step in this cycle is currently considered to be the GDP/GTP exchange rate, which can be orders of magnitude slower than the GTP hydrolysis rate. However, we have recently demonstrated that, in Arabidopsis, the guanine nucleotide cycle appears to be limited by the rate of GTP hydrolysis rather than nucleotide exchange. This finding has important implications for the mechanism of sugar sensing in Arabidopsis. We also discuss these data on Arabidopsis G-protein nucleotide cycling in relation to recent reports of putative plant GPCRs and heterotrimeric G-protein effectors in Arabidopsis.
Arabidopsis; glucose; G-protein; nucleotide exchange; RGS protein
The GoLoco motif is a short Gα-binding polypeptide sequence. It is often found in proteins that regulate cell-surface receptor signaling, such as RGS12, as well as in proteins that regulate mitotic spindle orientation and force generation during cell division, such as GPSM2/LGN. Here, we describe a high-throughput fluorescence polarization (FP) assay using fluorophore-labeled GoLoco motif peptides for identifying inhibitors of the GoLoco motif interaction with the G-protein alpha subunit Gαi1. The assay exhibits considerable stability over time and is tolerant to DMSO up to 5%. The Z′-factors for robustness of the GPSM2 and RGS12 GoLoco motif assays in a 96-well plate format were determined to be 0.81 and 0.84, respectively; the latter assay was run in a 384-well plate format and produced a Z′-factor of 0.80. To determine the screening factor window (Z-factor) of the RGS12 GoLoco motif screen using a small molecule library, the NCI Diversity Set was screened. The Z-factor was determined to be 0.66, suggesting that this FP assay would perform well when developed for 1,536-well format and scaled up to larger libraries. We then miniaturized to a 4 μL final volume a pair of FP assays utilizing fluorescein- (green) and rhodamine- (red) labeled RGS12 GoLoco motif peptides. In a fully-automated run, the Sigma-Aldrich LOPAC1280 collection was screened three times with every library compound being tested over a range of concentrations following the quantitative high-throughput screening (qHTS) paradigm; excellent assay performance was noted with average Z-factors of 0.84 and 0.66 for the green- and red-label assays, respectively.
Fluorescence anisotropy; fluorescence polarization; GoLoco motif; heterotrimeric G-proteins; high-throughput screening
Regulator of G-protein signaling (RGS) proteins have been well-described as accelerators of Gα-mediated GTP hydrolysis (“GTPase-accelerating proteins” or GAPs). However, RGS proteins with complex domain architectures are now known to regulate much more than Gα GTPase activity. RGS14 contains tandem Ras-binding domains that have been reported to bind to Rap- but not Ras GTPases in vitro, leading to the suggestion that RGS14 is a Rap-specific effector. However, more recent data from mammals and Drosophila imply that, in vivo, RGS14 may instead be an effector of Ras.
Full-length and truncated forms of purified RGS14 protein were found to bind indiscriminately in vitro to both Rap- and Ras-family GTPases, consistent with prior literature reports. In stark contrast, however, we found that in a cellular context RGS14 selectively binds to activated H-Ras and not to Rap isoforms. Co-transfection / co-immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated the ability of full-length RGS14 to assemble a multiprotein complex with components of the ERK MAPK pathway in a manner dependent on activated H-Ras. Small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of RGS14 inhibited both nerve growth factor- and basic fibrobast growth factor-mediated neuronal differentiation of PC12 cells, a process which is known to be dependent on Ras-ERK signaling.
In cells, RGS14 facilitates the formation of a selective Ras·GTP-Raf-MEK-ERK multiprotein complex to promote sustained ERK activation and regulate H-Ras-dependent neuritogenesis. This cellular function for RGS14 is similar but distinct from that recently described for its closely-related paralogue, RGS12, which shares the tandem Ras-binding domain architecture with RGS14.
Regulator of G-protein signaling (RGS) proteins accelerate GTP hydrolysis by Gα subunits and are thus crucial to the timing of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling. Small molecule inhibition of RGS proteins is an attractive therapeutic approach to diseases involving dysregulated GPCR signaling. Methyl-N-[(4-chlorophenyl)sulfonyl]-4-nitrobenzenesulfinimidoate (CCG-4986) was reported as a selective RGS4 inhibitor, but with an unknown mechanism of action (Roman et al., 2007 Mol Pharmacol. 71:169−75). Here, we describe its mechanism of action as covalent modification of RGS4. Mutant RGS4 proteins devoid of surface-exposed cysteine residues were characterized using surface plasmon resonance and FRET assays of Gα binding, as well as single-turnover GTP hydrolysis assays of RGS4 GAP activity, demonstrating that cysteine-132 within RGS4 is required for sensitivity to CCG-4986 inhibition. Sensitivity to CCG-4986 can be engendered within RGS8 by replacing the wildtype residue found in this position to cysteine. Mass spectrometry analysis identified a 153 dalton fragment of CCG-4986 as being covalently attached to the surface-exposed cysteines of the RGS4 RGS domain. We conclude that the mechanism of action of the RGS protein inhibitor CCG-4986 is via covalent modification of Cys-132 of RGS4, likely causing steric hinderance with the all-helical domain of the Gα substrate.
CCG-4986; RGS4; RGS protein inhibitor; regulator of G-protein signaling; thiol adduct