Accessory proteins for G proteins: partners in signaling

Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2006;46:151-87. doi: 10.1146/annurev.pharmtox.46.120604.141115.


Accessory proteins involved in signal processing through heterotrimeric G proteins are generally defined as proteins distinct from G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), G protein, or classical effectors that regulate the strength/efficiency/specificity of signal transfer upon receptor activation or position these entities in the right microenvironment, contributing to the formation of a functional signal transduction complex. A flurry of recent studies have implicated an additional class of accessory proteins for this system that provide signal input to heterotrimeric G proteins in the absence of a cell surface receptor, serve as alternative binding partners for G protein subunits, provide unexpected modes of G protein regulation, and have introduced additional functional roles for G proteins. This group of accessory proteins includes the recently discovered Activators of G protein Signaling (AGS) proteins identified in a functional screen for receptor-independent activators of G protein signaling as well as several proteins identified in protein interaction screens and genetic screens in model organisms. These accessory proteins may influence GDP dissociation and nucleotide exchange at the G(alpha) subunit, alter subunit interactions within heterotrimeric G(alphabetagamma) independent of nucleotide exchange, or form complexes with G(alpha) or G(betagamma) independent of the typical G(alphabetagamma) heterotrimer. AGS and related accessory proteins reveal unexpected diversity in G protein subunits as signal transducers within the cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • Nucleotides
  • GTP-Binding Proteins