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CaaX-motif-adjacent residues influence G protein gamma (Gγ) prenylation under suboptimal conditions

Published date

September 20, 2023


"Prenylation is an irreversible post-translational modification that supports membrane interactions of proteins involved in various cellular processes, including migration, proliferation, and survival. Dysregulation of prenylation contributes to multiple disorders, including cancers and vascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Prenyltransferases tether isoprenoid lipids to proteins via a thioether linkage during prenylation. Pharmacological inhibition of the lipid synthesis pathway by statins is a therapeutic approach to control hyperlipidemia. Building on our previous finding that statins inhibit membrane association of G protein γ (Gγ) in a subtype-dependent manner, we investigated the molecular reasoning for this differential inhibition. We examined the prenylation of carboxy-terminus (Ct) mutated Gγ in cells exposed to Fluvastatin and prenyl transferase inhibitors and monitored the subcellular localization of fluorescently tagged Gγ subunits and their mutants using live-cell confocal imaging. Reversible optogenetic unmasking-masking of Ct residues was used to probe their contribution to prenylation and membrane interactions of the prenylated proteins. Our findings suggest that specific Ct residues regulate membrane interactions of the Gγ polypeptide, statin sensitivity, and extent of prenylation. Our results also show a few hydrophobic and charged residues at the Ct are crucial determinants of a protein's prenylation ability, especially under suboptimal conditions. Given the cell and tissue-specific expression of different Gγ subtypes, our findings indicate a plausible mechanism allowing for statins to differentially perturb heterotrimeric G protein signaling in cells depending on their Gγ-subtype composition. Our results may also provide molecular reasoning for repurposing statins as Ras oncogene inhibitors and the failure of using prenyltransferase inhibitors in cancer treatment."

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