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Open Access Research article

Characterization of subcellular localization and stability of a splice variant of G alphai2

Philip B Wedegaertner

Author Affiliations

Department of Microbiology and Immunology Kimmel Cancer Institute Thomas Jefferson University 233 S. 10th St., 839 BLSB Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA

BMC Cell Biology 2002, 3:12  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-3-12

Published: 31 May 2002

Abstract

Background

Alternative mRNA splicing of αi2, a heterotrimeric G protein α subunit, has been shown to produce an additional protein, termed sαi2. In the sαi2 splice variant, 35 novel amino acids replace the normal C-terminal 24 amino acids of αi2. Whereas αi2 is found predominantly at cellular plasma membranes, sαi2 has been localized to intracellular Golgi membranes, and the unique 35 amino acids of sαi2 have been suggested to constitute a specific targeting signal.

Results

This paper proposes and examines an alternative hypothesis: disruption of the normal C-terminus of αi2 produces an unstable protein that fails to localize to plasma membranes. sαi2 is poorly expressed upon transfection of cultured cells; however, radiolabeling indicated that αi2 and sαi2 undergo myristoylation, a co-translational modification, equally well suggesting that protein stability rather than translation is affected. Indeed, pulse-chase analysis indicates that sαi2 is more rapidly degraded compared to αi2. Co-expression of βγ rescues PM localization and increases expression of sαi2. In addition, αi2A327S, a mutant previously shown to be unstable and defective in guanine-nucleotide binding, and αi2(1–331), in which the C-terminal 24 amino acids of αi2 are deleted, show a similar pattern of subcellular localization as sαi2 (i.e., intracellular membranes rather than plasma membranes). Finally, sαi2 displays a propensity to localize to potential aggresome-like structures.

Conclusions

Thus, instead of the novel C-terminus of sαi2 functioning as a specific Golgi targeting signal, the results presented here indicate that the disruption of the normal C-terminus of αi2 causes mislocalization and rapid degradation of sαi2.