Transmembrane signal transduction via heterotrimeric G proteins is reported to be inhibited by RGS (regulators of G-protein signalling) proteins. These RGS proteins work by increasing the GTPase activity of G protein alpha-subunits (G alpha), thereby driving G proteins into their inactive GDP-bound form. However, it is not known how RGS proteins regulate the kinetics of physiological responses that depend on G proteins. Here we report the isolation of a full-length complementary DNA encoding a neural-tissue-specific RGS protein, RGS8, and the determination of its function. We show that RGS8 binds preferentially to the alpha-subunits G(alpha)o and G(alpha)i3 and that it functions as a GTPase-activating protein (GAP). When co-expressed in Xenopus oocytes with a G-protein-coupled receptor and a G-protein-coupled inwardly rectifying K+ channel (GIRK1/2), RGS8 accelerated not only the turning off but also the turning on of the GIRK1/2 current upon receptor stimulation, without affecting the dose-response relationship. We conclude that RGS8 accelerates the modulation of G-protein-coupled channels and is not just a simple negative regulator. This property of RGS8 may be crucial for the rapid regulation of neuronal excitability upon stimulation of G-protein-coupled receptors.