On the mechanism of the inhibition of transducin function by farnesylcysteine analogs

C.A. Parish, Derek Brazil, R.R. Rando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The gamma subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins are isoprenylated/methylated on their carboxy termini. The photoreceptor G protein, transducin, is farnesylated/methylated at this position. Since the isoprenyl group is required for G protein function, it is of great interest to determine the mechanism by which the farnesyl group of T gamma interacts with the other transducin subunits and/or the activated photoreceptor, rhodopsin. Farnesylcysteine derivatives (N-acetyl-S-farnesyl-L-cysteine and farnesylated peptides) have been previously shown to have effects on transducin activity at high concentrations. Here, an extensive survey is done of farnesylcysteine analogs and other lipid molecules, which are tested for their ability to inhibit GTP/GDP exchange in transducin catalyzed by photolyzed rhodopsin. These studies are carried out to determine the nature of the inhibition process. While it does not appear that these molecules exhibit the specificity which would characterize a ligand-receptor type mechanism, the results suggest that these compounds are not acting in a nonspecific detergent-like manner either. The most likely mode of action of farnesylcysteine analogs is that they interfere with the lipid-lipid based association of T alpha and T beta gamma through the lipid modifications present on each subunit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2686-2693
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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