G protein αq exerts expression level-dependent distinct signaling paradigms

Cell Signal. 2019 Jun;58:34-43. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2019.02.006. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

Abstract

G protein αq-coupled receptors (Gq-GPCRs) primarily signal through GαqGTP mediated phospholipase Cβ (PLCβ) stimulation and the subsequent hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol 4, 5 bisphosphate (PIP2). Though Gq-heterotrimer activation results in both GαqGTP and Gβγ, unlike Gi/o-receptors, it is unclear if Gq-coupled receptors employ Gβγ as a major signal transducer. Compared to Gi/o- and Gs-coupled receptors, we observed that most cell types exhibit a limited free Gβγ generation upon Gq-pathway and Gαq/11 heterotrimer activation. We show that cells transfected with Gαq or endogenously expressing more than average-levels of Gαq/11 compared to Gαs and Gαi exhibit a distinct signaling regime primarily characterized by recovery-resistant PIP2 hydrolysis. Interestingly, the elevated Gq-expression is also associated with enhanced free Gβγ generation and signaling. Furthermore, the gene GNAQ, which encodes for Gαq, has recently been identified as a cancer driver gene. We also show that GNAQ is overexpressed in tumor samples of patients with Kidney Chromophobe (KICH) and Kidney renal papillary (KIRP) cell carcinomas in a matched tumor-normal sample analysis, which demonstrates the clinical significance of Gαq expression. Overall, our data indicates that cells usually express low Gαq levels, likely safeguarding cells from excessive calcium as wells as from Gβγ signaling.

Keywords: Calcium; G protein; GPCR; Signal transduction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gq-G11 / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gq-G11 / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Hydrolysis
  • Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Diphosphate / metabolism*
  • Phospholipase C beta / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Transfection

Substances

  • Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Diphosphate
  • Phospholipase C beta
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gq-G11
  • Calcium