Objectives/hypothesis: Motile cilia of airway epithelial cells help to expel harmful inhaled material. Activation of bitterant-responsive G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is believed to potentiate cilia beat frequency and mucociliary clearance. In this study, we investigated whether regulator of G protein signaling-21 (RGS21) has the potential to modulate signaling pathways connected to airway mucociliary clearance, given that RGS proteins modulate GPCR signaling by acting as GTPase-accelerating proteins (GAPs) for the Gα subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins.
Study design: This is a pilot investigation to determine if RGS21, a potential tastant specific RGS gene, is expressed in sinonasal mucosa, and to determine its specific Gα substrate using in vitro biochemical assays with purified proteins.
Methods: Rgs21 expression in sinonasal mucosa was determined using quantitative, real-time PCR and a transgenic mouse expressing RFP from the Rgs21 promoter. Rgs21 was cloned, over-expressed, and purified using multistep protein chromatography. Biochemical and biophysical assays were used to determine if RGS21 could bind and accelerate the hydrolysis of GTP on heterotrimeric Gα subunits.
Results: Rgs21 was expressed in sinonasal mucosa and lingual epithelium. Purified recombinant protein directly bound and accelerated GTP hydrolysis on Gα subunits.
Conclusions: Rgs21 is expressed in sinonasal mucosa, is amenable to purification as a recombinant protein, and can bind to Gα(i/o/q) subunits. Furthermore, RGS21 can accelerate the hydrolysis rate of GTP on Gαi subunits. This provides evidence that RGS21 may be a negative regulator of bitterant responses. Future studies will be needed to determine the physiological role of this protein in mucociliary clearance.
Keywords: G proteins; Regulators of G protein signaling (RGS); gustation.
© 2013 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.