Heterotrimeric G proteins composed of Gα, Gβ, and Gγ subunits are vital eukaryotic signaling elements that convey information from ligand-regulated G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to cellular effectors. Heterotrimeric G protein-based signaling pathways are fundamental to human health [Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (2007) 1768, 994-1005] and are the target of >30% of pharmaceuticals in clinical use [Biotechnology Advances (2013) 31, 1676-1694; Nature Reviews Drug Discovery (2017) 16, 829-842]. This review focuses on phosphorylation of G protein subunits as a regulatory mechanism in mammals, budding yeast, and plants. This is a re-emerging field, as evidence for phosphoregulation of mammalian G protein subunits from biochemical studies in the early 1990s can now be complemented with contemporary phosphoproteomics and genetic approaches applied to a diversity of model systems. In addition, new evidence implicates a family of plant kinases, the receptor-like kinases, which are monophyletic with the interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase/Pelle kinases of metazoans, as possible GPCRs that signal via subunit phosphorylation. We describe early and modern observations on G protein subunit phosphorylation and its functional consequences in these three classes of organisms, and suggest future research directions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology