GPCR-Galpha fusion proteins: molecular analysis of receptor-G-protein coupling

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1999 Sep;20(9):383-9. doi: 10.1016/s0165-6147(99)01368-1.


The efficiency of interactions between G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins) is greatly influenced by the absolute and relative densities of these proteins in the plasma membrane. The study of these interactions has been facilitated by the use of GPCR-Galpha fusion proteins, which are formed by the fusion of GPCR to Galpha. These fusion proteins ensure a defined 1:1 stoichiometry of GPCR to Galpha and force the physical proximity of the signalling partners. Thus, fusion of GPCR to Galpha enhances coupling efficiency can be used to study aspects of receptor-G-protein coupling that could not otherwise be examined by co-expressing GPCRs and G proteins as separate proteins. The results of studies that have made use of GPCR-Galpha fusion proteins will be discussed in this article, along with the strengths and limitations of this approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / chemistry*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry*


  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • GTP-Binding Proteins