Objectives/Hypothesis Motile cilia of airway epithelial cells help to expel harmful inhaled material. Activation of bitterant-responsive G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is believed to potentiate cilia beat frequency and mucociliary clearance. In this study, we investigated whether regulator of G protein signaling-21 (RGS21) has the potential to modulate signaling pathways connected to airway mucociliary clearance, given that RGS proteins modulate GPCR signaling by acting as GTPase-accelerating proteins (GAPs) for the Gα subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins. Study Design This is a pilot investigation to determine if RGS21, a potential tastant specific RGS gene, is expressed in sinonasal mucosa, and to determine its specific Gα substrate using in vitro biochemical assays with purified proteins. Methods Rgs21 expression in sinonasal mucosa was determined using quantitative, real-time PCR and a transgenic mouse expressing RFP from the Rgs21 promoter. Rgs21 was cloned, over-expressed, and purified using multistep protein chromatography. Biochemical and biophysical assays were used to determine if RGS21 could bind and accelerate the hydrolysis of GTP on heterotrimeric Gα subunits. Results Rgs21 was expressed in sinonasal mucosa and lingual epithelium. Purified recombinant protein directly bound and accelerated GTP hydrolysis on Gα subunits. Conclusions Rgs21 is expressed in sinonasal mucosa, is amenable to purification as a recombinant protein, and can bind to Gαi/o/q subunits. Furthermore, RGS21 can accelerate the hydrolysis rate of GTP on Gαi subunits. This provides evidence that RGS21 may be a negative regulator of bitterant responses. Future studies will be needed to determine the physiological role of this protein in mucociliary clearance.
- G proteins
- Regulators of G protein signaling (RGS)