The G-protein-coupled receptor phosphatase: a protein phosphatase type 2A with a distinct subcellular distribution and substrate specificity.

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1995-08-29

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Abstract

Phosphorylation of G-protein-coupled receptors plays an important role in regulating their function. In this study the G-protein-coupled receptor phosphatase (GRP) capable of dephosphorylating G-protein-coupled receptor kinase-phosphorylated receptors is described. The GRP activity of bovine brain is a latent oligomeric form of protein phosphatase type 2A (PP-2A) exclusively associated with the particulate fraction. GRP activity is observed only when assayed in the presence of protamine or when phosphatase-containing fractions are subjected to freeze/thaw treatment under reducing conditions. Consistent with its identification as a member of the PP-2A family, the GRP is potently inhibited by okadaic acid but not by I-2, the specific inhibitor of protein phosphatase type 1. Solubilization of the membrane-associated GRP followed by gel filtration in the absence of detergent yields a 150-kDa peak of latent receptor phosphatase activity. Western blot analysis of this phosphatase reveals a likely subunit composition of AB alpha C. PP-2A of this subunit composition has previously been characterized as a soluble enzyme, yet negligible soluble GRP activity was observed. The subcellular distribution and substrate specificity of the GRP suggests significant differences between it and previously characterized forms of PP-2A.

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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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