How do receptors activate G proteins?
- PMID: 17854655[PubMed].
Heterotrimeric G proteins couple the activation of heptahelical receptors at the cell surface to the intracellular signaling cascades that mediate the physiological responses to extracellular stimuli. G proteins are molecular switches that are activated by receptor-catalyzed GTP for GDP exchange on the G protein alpha subunit, which is the rate-limiting step in the activation of all downstream signaling. Despite the important biological role of the receptor-G protein interaction, relatively little is known about the structure of the complex and how it leads to nucleotide exchange. This chapter will describe what is known about receptor and G protein structure and outline a strategy for assembling the current data into improved models for the receptor-G protein complex that will hopefully answer the question as to how receptors flip the G protein switch.