Nucleotide exchange–dependent and nucleotide exchange–independent functions of plant heterotrimeric GTP-binding proteins

Natsumi Maruta, Yuri Trusov, David Chakravorty, Daisuke Urano, Sarah M. Assmann, Jose R. Botella

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20 Scopus citations


Heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide–binding proteins (G proteins), which are composed of α, β, and γ subunits, are versatile, guanine nucleotide–dependent, molecular on-off switches. In animals and fungi, the exchange of GDP for GTP on Gα controls G protein activation and is crucial for normal cellular responses to diverse extracellular signals. The model plant Arabidopsis thaliana has a single canonical Gα subunit, AtGPA1. We found that, in planta, the constitutively active, GTP-bound AtGPA1(Q222L) mutant and the nucleotide-free AtGPA1(S52C) mutant interacted with Gβγ1 and Gβγ2 dimers with similar affinities, suggesting that G protein heterotrimer formation occurred independently of nucleotide exchange. In contrast, AtGPA1(Q222L) had a greater affinity than that of AtGPA1(S52C) for Gβγ3, suggesting that the GTP-bound conformation of AtGPA1(Q222L) is distinct and tightly associated with Gβγ3. Functional analysis of transgenic lines expressing either AtGPA1(S52C) or AtGPA1(Q222L) in the gpa1-null mutant background revealed various mutant phenotypes that were complemented by either AtGPA1(S52C) or AtGPA1(Q222L). We conclude that, in addition to the canonical GDP-GTP exchange–dependent mechanism, plant G proteins can function independently of nucleotide exchange.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaav9526
JournalScience signaling
Issue number606
StatePublished - Nov 5 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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