Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

RGS3 mediates a calcium-dependent termination of G protein signaling in sensory neurons.

PMID 12771384


G proteins modulate synaptic transmission. Regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) proteins accelerate the intrinsic GTPase activity of Galpha subunits, and thus terminate G protein activation. Whether RGS proteins themselves are under cellular control is not well defined, particularly in native cells. In dorsal root ganglion neurons overexpressing RGS3, we find that G protein signaling is rapidly terminated (or "desensitized") by calcium influx through voltage-gated channels. This rapid desensitization is most likely mediated by direct binding of calcium to RGS3, as deletion of an EF-hand domain in RGS3 abolishes both the desensitization (observed physiologically) and a calcium-RGS3 interaction (observed in a gel-shift assay). A naturally occurring variant of RGS3 that lacks the EF hand neither binds calcium nor produces rapid desensitization, giving rise instead to a slower calcium-dependent desensitization that is attenuated by a calmodulin antagonist. Thus, activity-evoked calcium entry in sensory neurons may provide differential control of G protein signaling, depending on the isoform of RGS3 expressed in the cells. In complex neural circuits subjected to abundant synaptic inhibition by G proteins (as occurs in dorsal spinal cord), rapid termination of inhibition by electrical activity by EF hand-containing RGS3 may ensure the faithful transmission of information from the most active sensory inputs.

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AV09007 Anti-RGS3 antibody produced in rabbit, affinity isolated antibody