Heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-regulatory (G) proteins are associated with a variety of intracellular membranes and specific plasma membrane domains. In polarized epithelial LLC-PK1 cells we have shown previously that endogenous G alpha i-2 is localized on the basolateral plasma membrane, whereas G alpha i-3 is localized on Golgi membranes. The targeting of these highly homologous G alpha i proteins to distinct membrane domains was studied by the transfection and expression of chimeric G alpha i proteins in LLC-PK1 cells. Chimeric cDNAs were constructed from the cDNAs for G alpha i-3 and G alpha i-2 and introduced into a pMXX eukaryotic expression vector containing a mouse metallothionein-I promoter. Stably transfected cell lines were produced that expressed either G alpha i-2/3 or G alpha i-3/2 chimeric proteins. Chimeric and endogenous G alpha i proteins were detected in cells using specific carboxy-terminal peptide antibodies. Immunofluorescence staining was used to localize endogenous and chimeric G alpha i proteins in LLC-PK1 cells. The staining of chimeric proteins was detected as an increased intensity of staining on membranes containing endogenous G alpha i proteins. Using confocal microscopy and image analysis we localized G alpha i-2 to a specific sub-domain of the lateral membrane of polarized cells, the chimeric G alpha i-3/2 protein was then shown to colocalize with endogenous G alpha i-2 in the same lateral plasma membrane domain. The chimeric G alpha i-2/3 protein colocalized with endogenous G alpha i-3 on Golgi membranes in LLC-PK1 cells. These results show that chimeric G alpha i proteins were targeted to the same membrane domains as endogenous G alpha i proteins and the specificity of their membrane targeting was conferred by the carboxy-terminal end of the proteins. These data provide the first evidence for specific targeting information contained in the carboxy termini of G alpha i proteins, which appears to be independent of amino-terminal membrane attachment sites in these proteins.
Targeting of chimeric G alpha i proteins to specific membrane domains
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J.B. de Almeida, E.J. Holtzman, P. Peters, L. Ercolani, D.A. Ausiello, J.L. Stow; Targeting of chimeric G alpha i proteins to specific membrane domains. J Cell Sci 1 March 1994; 107 (3): 507–515. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jcs.107.3.507
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