The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Regulators of G-protein signaling (RGS) proteins: region-specific expression of nine subtypes in rat brain.

PMID 9315921


The recently discovered regulators of G-protein signaling (RGS) proteins potently modulate the functioning of heterotrimeric G-proteins by stimulating the GTPase activity of G-protein alpha subunits. The mRNAs for numerous subtypes of putative RGS proteins have been identified in mammalian tissues, but little is known about their expression in brain. We performed a systematic survey of the localization of mRNAs encoding nine of these RGSs, RGS3-RGS11, in brain by in situ hybridization. Striking region-specific patterns of expression were observed. Five subtypes, RGS4, RGS7, RGS8, RGS9, and RGS10 mRNAs, are densely expressed in brain, whereas the other subtypes (RGS3, RGS5, RGS6, and RGS11) are expressed at lower density and in more restricted regions. RGS4 mRNA is notable for its dense expression in neocortex, piriform cortex, caudoputamen, and ventrobasal thalamus. RGS8 mRNA is highly expressed in the cerebellar Purkinje cell layer as well as in several midbrain nuclei. RGS9 mRNA is remarkable for its nearly exclusive enrichment in striatal regions. RGS10 mRNA is densely expressed in dentate gyrus granule cells, superficial layers of neocortex, and dorsal raphe. To assess whether the expression of RGS mRNAs can be regulated, we examined the effect of an acute seizure on levels of RGS7, RGS8, and RGS10 mRNAs in hippocampus. Of the three subtypes, changes in RGS10 levels were most pronounced, decreasing by approximately 40% in a time-dependent manner in response to a single seizure. These results, which document highly specific patterns of RGS mRNA expression in brain and their ability to be regulated in a dynamic manner, support the view that RGS proteins may play an important role in determining the intensity and specificity of signaling pathways in brain as well as their adaptations to synaptic activity.

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