Decoding Gαq signaling

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Gαq signals with phospholipase C-β (PLC-β) to modify behavior in response to an agonist-bound GPCR. While the fundamental steps which prime Gαq to interact with PLC-β have been identified, questions remain concerning signal strength with PLC-β and other effectors. Gαq is generally viewed to function as a simple ON and OFF switch for its effector, dependent on the binding of GTP or GDP. However, Gαq does not have a single effector, Gαq has many different effectors. Furthermore, select effectors also regulate Gαq activity. PLC-β is a lipase and a GTPase activating protein (GAP) selective for Gαq. The contribution of G protein regulating activity to signal amplitude remains unclear. The unique PLC-β coiled-coil domain is essential for maximum Gαq response, both lipase and GAP. Nonetheless, coiled-coil domain associations necessary to maximum response have not been revealed by the structural approach. This review discusses progress towards understanding the basis for signal strength with PLC-β and other effectors. Shared and effector-specific interactions have been identified. Finally, the evidence for allosteric regulation of lipase stimulation by protein kinase C, the membrane, phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylinositol-4, 5-bisphosphate and GPCR is explored. Endogenous allosteric regulators can suppress or enhance maximum lipase stimulation dependent on the PLC-β coiled-coil domain. A better understanding of allosteric modulation may therefore identify a wealth of new targets to regulate signal strength and behavior.

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