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Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2011 Nov 25;4153:509-14. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.10.106.
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The role of RGS protein in agonist-dependent relaxation of GIRK currents in Xenopus oocytes.

Sahlholm K .

G protein coupled inward rectifier K(+) channels (GIRK) are activated by the G(βγ) subunits of G proteins upon activation of G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Receptor-stimulated GIRK currents are known to possess a curious property, termed "agonist-dependent relaxation," denoting a slow current increase upon stepping the membrane voltage from positive to negative potentials. Regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) proteins have earlier been implicated in this phenomenon since RGS coexpression was required for relaxation to be observed in heterologous expression systems. However, a recent study presented contrasting evidence that GIRK current relaxation reflects voltage sensitive agonist binding to the GPCR. The present study re-examined the role of RGS protein in agonist-dependent relaxation and found that RGS coexpression is not necessary for the relaxation phenomenon. However, RGS4 speeds up relaxation kinetics, allowing the phenomenon to be observed using shorter voltage steps. These findings resolve the controversy regarding the role of RGS protein vs. GPCR voltage sensitivity in mediating agonist-dependent relaxation of GIRK currents.

PubMed ID: 22068057
Article link: Biochem Biophys Res Commun

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: gprc6a kcnj3 rgs4