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The neural G protein Gαo tagged with GFP at an internal loop is functional in Caenorhabditis elegans

, Andrew C Olson,
G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics ; doi:10.1093/g3journal/jkab167

Abstract: Gαo is the alpha subunit of the major heterotrimeric G protein in neurons and mediates signaling by every known neurotransmitter, yet the signaling mechanisms activated by Gαo remain to be fully elucidated. Genetic analysis in Caenorhabditis elegans has shown that Gαo signaling inhibits neuronal activity and neurotransmitter release, but studies of the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects have been limited by lack of tools to complement genetic studies with other experimental approaches. Here, we demonstrate that inserting the green fluorescent protein (GFP) into an internal loop of the Gαo protein results in a tagged protein that is functional in vivo and that facilitates cell biological and biochemical studies of Gαo. Transgenic expression of Gαo-GFP rescues the defects caused by loss of endogenous Gαo in assays of egg laying and locomotion behaviors. Defects in body morphology caused by loss of Gαo are also rescued by Gαo-GFP. The Gαo-GFP protein is localized to the plasma membrane of neurons, mimicking localization of endogenous Gαo. Using GFP as an epitope tag, Gαo-GFP can be immunoprecipitated from C. elegans lysates to purify Gαo protein complexes. The Gαo-GFP transgene reported in this study enables studies involving in vivo localization and biochemical purification of Gαo to compliment the already well-developed genetic analysis of Gαo signaling.
Keywords: Gαo / heterotrimeric G protein / neural signaling / Caenorhabditis elegans

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