Receptor and G betagamma isoform-specific interactions with G protein-coupled receptor kinases.

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1997-03-18

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Abstract

The G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) kinases (GRKs) phosphorylate and desensitize agonist-occupied GPCRs. GRK2-mediated receptor phosphorylation is preceded by the agonist-dependent membrane association of this enzyme. Previous in vitro studies with purified proteins have suggested that this translocation may be mediated by the recruitment of GRK2 to the plasma membrane by its interaction with the free betagamma subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins (G betagamma). Here we demonstrate that this mechanism operates in intact cells and that specificity is imparted by the selective interaction of discrete pools of G betagamma with receptors and GRKs. Treatment of Cos-7 cells transiently overexpressing GRK2 with a beta-receptor agonist promotes a 3-fold increase in plasma membrane-associated GRK2. This translocation of GRK2 is inhibited by the carboxyl terminus of GRK2, a known G betagamma sequestrant. Furthermore, in cells overexpressing both GRK2 and G beta1 gamma2, activation of lysophosphatidic acid receptors leads to the rapid and transient formation of a GRK/G betagamma complex. That G betagamma specificity exists at the level of the GPCR and the GRK is indicated by the observation that a GRK2/G betagamma complex is formed after agonist occupancy of the lysophosphatidic acid and beta-adrenergic but not thrombin receptors. In contrast to GRK2, GRK3 forms a G betagamma complex after stimulation of all three GPCRs. This G betagamma binding specificity of the GRKs is also reflected at the level of the purified proteins. Thus the GRK2 carboxyl terminus binds G beta1 and G beta2 but not G beta3, while the GRK3 fusion protein binds all three G beta isoforms. This study provides a direct demonstration of a role for G betagamma in mediating the agonist-stimulated translocation of GRK2 and GRK3 in an intact cellular system and demonstrates isoform specificity in the interaction of these components.

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Lefkowitz

Robert J. Lefkowitz

The Chancellor's Distinguished Professor of Medicine

Dr. Lefkowitz’s memoir, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm, recounts his early career as a cardiologist and his transition to biochemistry, which led to his Nobel Prize win.

Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D. is Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry at the Duke University Medical Center. He has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1976. Dr. Lefkowitz began his research career in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when there was not a clear consensus that specific receptors for drugs and hormones even existed. His group spent 15 difficult years developing techniques for labeling the receptors with radioactive drugs and then purifying the four different receptors that were known and thought to exist for adrenaline, so called adrenergic receptors. In 1986 Dr. Lefkowitz transformed the understanding of what had by then become known as G protein coupled receptors because of the way the receptor signal for the inside of a cell through G proteins, when he and his colleagues cloned the gene for the beta2-adrenergic receptor. They immediately recognized the similarity to a molecule called rhodopsin which is essentially a light receptor in the retina. This unexpected finding established the beta receptor and rhodopsin as the first member of a new family of proteins. Because each has a peptide structure, which weaves across the cell membrane seven times, these receptors are referred to as seven transmembrane receptors. This super family is now known to be the largest, most diverse and most therapeutically accessible of all the different kinds of cellular receptors. There are almost a thousand members of this receptor family and they regulate virtually all known physiological processes in humans. They include the receptors not only to numerous hormones and neurotransmitters but for the receptors which mediate the senses of sweet and bitter taste and smell amongst many others. Dr. Lefkowitz also discovered the mechanism by which receptor signaling is turned off, a process known as desensitization. Dr. Lefkowitz work was performed at the most fundamental and basic end of the research spectrum and has had remarkable consequences for clinical medicine. Today, more than half of all prescription drug sales are of drugs that target either directly or indirectly the receptors discovered by Dr. Lefkowitz and his trainees. These include amongst many others beta blockers, angiotensin receptor blockers or ARBs and antihistamines. Over the past decade he has discovered novel mechanisms by which the receptors function which may lead to the development of an entirely new class of drugs called “biased agonists”. Several such compounds are already in advanced stages of clinical testing. Dr. Lefkowitz has received numerous honors and awards, including the National Medal of Science, the Shaw Prize, the Albany Prize, and the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was elected to the USA National Academy of Sciences in 1988, the Institute of Medicine in 1994, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1988.


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