Message transmission: receptor controlled adenylate cyclase system

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Science  21 Sep 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4668, pp. 1350-1356
DOI: 10.1126/science.6147897


The adenylate cyclase system is composed of an activating hormone or neurotransmitter (H), its receptor (R), the guanosine triphosphate (GTP) binding protein (Gs), and the catalytic unit (C). The activation of the receptor R involves a transient change in conformation, from a loose binding of the neurotransmitter H to an extremely tight interaction, termed locking. The system is regulated in the activation steps and also by three deactivation processes. A guanosine triphosphatase activity is built into the Gs protein so that the active GsGTP has only a limited lifetime during which it is able to activate C. In addition, the continued occupation of R by H causes desensitization of R. Finally, there are inhibitory receptors, such as alpha-adrenergic and opiate receptors, which inhibit the adenylate cyclase by way of a specific GTP binding protein (Gi). Yet to be determined are the conformational transformations of pure R on binding of an agonist or a partial agonist; the genes that code for the many different receptors that activate the adenylate cyclase, and the possibility that the G components interact with systems in the cell other than the adenylate cyclase.