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Structural dynamics of Giα protein revealed by single molecule FRET

Zhu, Yongping, Zhang, Lei, Zhang, Xuejun C., Zhao, Yongfang
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2017
G-protein coupled receptors, energy transfer, guanosine triphosphate, guanosinetriphosphatase, image analysis, ligands, signal transduction
The heterotrimeric G proteins (Gαβγ) act as molecular switches to mediate signal transduction from G protein-coupled receptors to downstream effectors. Upon interaction with an activated receptor, G protein exchanges its bound GDP with GTP, stimulating downstream signal transmission. Release of GDP requires a structural rearrangement between the GTPase domain and helical domain of the Gα subunit. Here, we used single molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) technique to study the conformational dynamics of these two domains in the apo state and in the binding of different ligands. Direct imaging of individual molecules showed that the Giα subunit is highly dynamic, and at least three major conformations of Giα could be observed in the apo state. Upon binding of GDP, Giα becomes dramatically less dynamic, resulting in a closed conformation between the two domains. We postulate that changes between the three conformations are sequential, and the three conformations appear to have distinct affinities toward GDP.