All G protein βγ complexes are capable of translocation on receptor activation

W. K. Ajith Karunarathne, Patrick R. O'Neill, Pedro L. Martinez-Espinosa, Vani Kalyanaraman, N. Gautam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Heterotrimeric G proteins transduce signals sensed by transmembrane G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). A subfamily of G protein βγ subunit types has been shown to selectively translocate from the plasma membrane to internal membranes on receptor activation. Using 4D imaging we show here that Gβγ translocation is not restricted to some subunit types but rather all 12 members of the family of mammalian γ subunits are capable of supporting βγ translocation. Translocation kinetics varies widely depending on the specific γ subunit type, with t 1/2 ranging from 10s to many minutes. Using fluorescence complementation, we show that the β and γ subunits translocate as βγ dimers with kinetics determined by the γ subunit type. The expression patterns of endogenous γ subunit types in HeLa cells, hippocampal neurons and cardiomyocytes are distinctly different. Consistent with these differences, the βγ translocation rates vary widely βγ translocation rates exhibit the same γ subunit dependent trends regardless of the specific receptor type or cell type showing that the translocation rates are intrinsic to the γ subunit types βγ complexes with widely different rates of translocation had differential effects on muscarinic stimulation of GIRK channel activity. These results show that G protein βγ translocation is a general response to activation of GPCRs and may play a role in regulating signaling activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-611
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 11 2012


  • G protein
  • GPCR
  • Live cell imaging
  • Translocationl GIRK channel

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