Publication Date



Journal of Biological Chemistry


Highly homologous members of the Gαi family, Gαi1-3, have distinct tissue distributions and physiological functions, yet their biochemical and functional properties are very similar. We recently identified PDZ-RhoGEF (PRG) as a novel Gαi1 effector that is poorly activated by Gαi2. In a proteomic proximity labeling screen we observed a strong preference for Gαi1 relative to Gαi2 with respect to engagement of a broad range of potential targets. We investigated the mechanistic basis for this selectivity using PRG as a representative target. Substitution of either the helical domain (HD) from Gαi1 into Gαi2 or substitution of a single amino acid, A230 in Gαi2 with the corresponding D in Gαi1, largely rescues PRG activation and interactions with other potential Gαi targets. Molecular dynamics simulations combined with Bayesian network models revealed that in the GTP bound state, separation at the HD-Ras-like domain (RLD) interface is more pronounced in Gαi2 than Gαi1. Mutation of A230 to D in Gαi2 stabilizes HD-RLD interactions via ionic interactions with R145 in the HD which in turn modify the conformation of Switch III. These data support a model where D229 in Gαi1 interacts with R144 and stabilizes a network of interactions between HD and RLD to promote protein target recognition. The corresponding A230 in Gαi2 is unable to stabilize this network leading to an overall lower efficacy with respect to target interactions. This study reveals distinct mechanistic properties that could underly differential biological and physiological consequences of activation of Gαi1 or Gαi2 by G protein–coupled receptors.


heterotrimeric G protein, G protein–coupled receptor, domain interactions, effector coupling, proximity labeling, mass spectrometry, Rho GEF, alpha subunits, structure



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