The American journal of physiology

Specific coupling of a cation-sensing receptor to G protein alpha-subunits in MDCK cells.

PMID 9249600


Extracellular cations such as Ca2+ stimulate a G protein-coupled, cation-sensing receptor (CaR). We used microphysiometry to determine whether an extracellular cation-sensing mechanism exists in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. The CaR agonists Ca2+ and Gd3+ caused cellular activation in a concentration-dependent manner. mRNA for the CaR was identified by reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using nested CaR-specific primers, identification of an appropriately located restriction site, and sequencing of the subcloned fragment obtained by PCR. G protein activation was evaluated using the GTP photoaffinity label [alpha-32P]GTP azidoanalide (AA-GTP). After stimulation with Gd3+ and cross-linking, plasma membranes were solubilized and immunoprecipitated with antisera specific for Gq/11 alpha and Gi alpha family members. Gd3+ increased incorporation of AA-GTP into Gq/11 alpha precipitates by 146 +/- 48% and into G alpha i-2 and G alpha i-3 to a lesser extent but not into G alpha i-1. Direct effects of Gd3+ on the G proteins were ruled out using partially purified mammalian G proteins expressed in Escherichia coli or Sf9 cells. We conclude that MDCK cells possess a cell-surface CaR that activates Gq/11 alpha, G alpha i-2, and G alpha i-3 but not G alpha i-1.