Heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide–binding proteins (G proteins), which are composed of α, β, and γ subunits, are versatile, guanine nucleotide–dependent, molecular on-off switches. In animals and fungi, the exchange of GDP for GTP on Gα controls G protein activation and is crucial for normal cellular responses to diverse extracellular signals. The model plant Arabidopsis thaliana has a single canonical Gα subunit, AtGPA1. We found that, in planta, the constitutively active, GTP-bound AtGPA1(Q222L) mutant and the nucleotide-free AtGPA1(S52C) mutant interacted with Gβγ1 and Gβγ2 dimers with similar affinities, suggesting that G protein heterotrimer formation occurred independently of nucleotide exchange. In contrast, AtGPA1(Q222L) had a greater affinity than that of AtGPA1(S52C) for Gβγ3, suggesting that the GTP-bound conformation of AtGPA1(Q222L) is distinct and tightly associated with Gβγ3. Functional analysis of transgenic lines expressing either AtGPA1(S52C) or AtGPA1(Q222L) in the gpa1-null mutant background revealed various mutant phenotypes that were complemented by either AtGPA1(S52C) or AtGPA1(Q222L). We conclude that, in addition to the canonical GDP-GTP exchange–dependent mechanism, plant G proteins can function independently of nucleotide exchange.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology