G Protein Signaling: Insights from New Structures

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Science's STKE  03 Feb 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 218, pp. re3
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2182004re3

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Heterotrimeric guanosine triphosphate–binding proteins (G proteins) are a class of intracellular proteins that bind to and are activated by activated G protein–coupled receptors that traverse the cell membrane of a wide variety of cells. A diverse array of ligands binds to and activates GPCRs, including photons, odorants, neurotransmitters, hormones, glycoproteins, and chemokines, leading to diverse biological responses. Heterotrimeric G proteins are made up of α and βγ subunits, and each is involved in signaling to distinct effectors. Determination of the crystal structures of these G proteins has led to a mechanistic understanding of their function, and structures of G proteins in complex with other signaling partners reveal details of how signaling through these highly evolutionarily conserved molecules is regulated within the cell. This STKE Review with seven figures, 2two animations, and 47 citations describes the latest findings and their implications for G protein–signaling paradigms.