Regulators of G protein signaling: a bestiary of modular protein binding domains

J Neurochem. 2000 Oct;75(4):1335-51. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2000.0751335.x.


Members of the newly discovered regulator of G protein signaling (RGS) families of proteins have a common RGS domain. This RGS domain is necessary for conferring upon RGS proteins the capacity to regulate negatively a variety of Galpha protein subunits. However, RGS proteins are more than simply negative regulators of signaling. RGS proteins can function as effector antagonists, and recent evidence suggests that RGS proteins can have positive effects on signaling as well. Many RGS proteins possess additional C- and N-terminal modular protein-binding domains and motifs. The presence of these additional modules within the RGS proteins provides for multiple novel regulatory interactions performed by these molecules. These regions are involved in conferring regulatory selectivity to specific Galpha-coupled signaling pathways, enhancing the efficacy of the RGS domain, and the translocation or targeting of RGS proteins to intracellular membranes. In other instances, these domains are involved in cross-talk between different Galpha-coupled signaling pathways and, in some cases, likely serve to integrate small GTPases with these G protein signaling pathways. This review discusses these C- and N-terminal domains and their roles in the biology of the brain-enriched RGS proteins. Methods that can be used to investigate the function of these domains are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs / physiology
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites / physiology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins*
  • Humans
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / physiology
  • RGS Proteins / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Substrate Specificity / physiology


  • Fungal Proteins
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • RGS Proteins
  • SST2 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • GTP-Binding Proteins