Research Article

G-Protein Signaling Through Tubby Proteins

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Science  15 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5524, pp. 2041-2050
DOI: 10.1126/science.1061233

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Dysfunction of the tubby protein results in maturity-onset obesity in mice. Tubby has been implicated as a transcription regulator, but details of the molecular mechanism underlying its function remain unclear. Here we show that tubby functions in signal transduction from heterotrimeric GTP-binding protein (G protein)–coupled receptors. Tubby localizes to the plasma membrane by binding phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate through its carboxyl terminal “tubby domain.” X-ray crystallography reveals the atomic-level basis of this interaction and implicates tubby domains as phosphorylated-phosphatidyl- inositol binding factors. Receptor-mediated activation of G protein αq(Gαq) releases tubby from the plasma membrane through the action of phospholipase C–β, triggering translocation of tubby to the cell nucleus. The localization of tubby-like protein 3 (TULP3) is similarly regulated. These data suggest that tubby proteins function as membrane-bound transcription regulators that translocate to the nucleus in response to phosphoinositide hydrolysis, providing a direct link between G-protein signaling and the regulation of gene expression.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed at the Structural Biology Program, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Room 16-20, 1425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10029, USA. E-mail: shapiro{at}

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