Signal-dependent translocation of transducin, RGS9-1-Gβ5L complex, and arrestin to detergent-resistant membrane rafts in photoreceptors

K. Saidas Nair, Nagaraj Balasubramanian, Vladlen Z. Slepak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Scopus citations


Many lines of evidence show that membranes contain microdomains, "lipid rafts", that are different from the rest of the membrane in specific lipid and protein composition [1]. In several biological systems, they were shown to be necessary for trafficking and signal transduction. Here, we investigate if lipid rafts have a role in the regulation of the G protein-mediated pathway underlying vertebrate phototransduction. Photoreceptor membranes contain detergent-resistant membrane (DRM) rafts. Rhodopsin and cGMP phosphodiesterase are found in raft and nonraft portions of the membrane; guanylate cyclase is found exclusively in the raft. Distribution of these proteins does not change in the light or dark. In contrast, the G protein transducin, the RGS9-1-Gβ5L complex, and the p44 isoform of arrestin undergo dramatic translocation to the raft upon illumination. Phosphorylation of RGS9-1 occurs exclusively in the raft. GTPγS or pertussis toxin prevent the light-mediated translocation of transducin and RGS9-1, whereas AIF4- causes both proteins to move to the raft in the dark. This shows that the Gαt-RGS9-1-Gβ5L complex has the highest affinity to rafts in the transition state of the GTPase. GTPγS binds to transducin at a significantly slower rate in the raft, indicating that this translocation results in a reduced rhodopsin-transducin coupling. Thus, an external signal can rearrange components of a G protein pathway in specific domains of the cell membrane, changing its signaling properties. These findings could reveal a novel mechanism utilized by the cells for regulation of G protein-mediated signal transduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-425
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 5 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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