Inhibitory Signaling to Ion Channels in Hippocampal Neurons Is Differentially Regulated by Alternative Macromolecular Complexes of RGS7

J Neurosci. 2018 Nov 14;38(46):10002-10015. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1378-18.2018. Epub 2018 Oct 12.


The neuromodulatory effects of GABA on pyramidal neurons are mediated by GABAB receptors (GABABRs) that signal via a conserved G-protein-coupled pathway. Two prominent effectors regulated by GABABRs include G-protein inwardly rectifying K+ (GIRK) and P/Q/N type voltage-gated Ca2+ (CaV2) ion channels that control excitability and synaptic output of these neurons, respectively. Regulator of G-protein signaling 7 (RGS7) has been shown to control GABAB effects, yet the specificity of its impacts on effector channels and underlying molecular mechanisms is poorly understood. In this study, we show that hippocampal RGS7 forms two distinct complexes with alternative subunit configuration bound to either membrane protein R7BP (RGS7 binding protein) or orphan receptor GPR158. Quantitative biochemical experiments show that both complexes account for targeting nearly the entire pool of RGS7 to the plasma membrane. We analyzed the effect of genetic elimination in mice of both sexes and overexpression of various components of RGS7 complex by patch-clamp electrophysiology in cultured neurons and brain slices. We report that RGS7 prominently regulates GABABR signaling to CaV2, in addition to its known involvement in modulating GIRK. Strikingly, only complexes containing R7BP, but not GPR158, accelerated the kinetics of both GIRK and CaV2 modulation by GABABRs. In contrast, GPR158 overexpression exerted the opposite effect and inhibited RGS7-assisted temporal modulation of GIRK and CaV2 by GABA. Collectively, our data reveal mechanisms by which distinctly composed macromolecular complexes modulate the activity of key ion channels that mediate the inhibitory effects of GABA on hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT This study identifies the contributions of distinct macromolecular complexes containing a major G-protein regulator to controlling key ion channel function in hippocampal neurons with implications for understanding molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory.

Keywords: GABAB; GPCR; RGS; hippocampus; ion channels; neuromodulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caveolin 2 / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Insecta
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • RGS Proteins / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Cav2 protein, mouse
  • Caveolin 2
  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels
  • Ion Channels
  • RGS Proteins
  • Rgs7 protein, mouse