Structural basis for the specific inhibition of heterotrimeric G q protein by a small molecule

Akiyuki Nishimura, Ken Kitano, Jun Takasaki, Masatoshi Taniguchi, Norikazu Mizuno, Kenji Tago, Toshio Hakoshima, Hiroshi Itoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Citations (Scopus)


Heterotrimeric GTP-binding proteins (G proteins) transmit extracellular stimuli perceived by G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to intracellular signaling cascades. Hundreds of GPCRs exist in humans and are the targets of a large percentage of the pharmaceutical drugs used today. Because G proteins are regulated by GPCRs, small molecules that directly modulate G proteins have the potential to become therapeutic agents. However, strategies to develop modulators have been hampered by a lack of structural knowledge of targeting sites for specific modulator binding. Here we present the mechanism of action of the cyclic depsipeptide YM-254890, which is a recently discovered G q-selective inhibitor. YM-254890 specifically inhibits the GDP/GTP exchange reaction of α subunit of Gq protein (Gαq) by inhibiting the GDP release from Gαq. X-ray crystal structure analysis of the Gαqβγ-YM- 254890 complex shows that YM-254890 binds the hydrophobic cleft between two interdomain linkers connecting the GTPase and helical domains of the Gαq. The binding stabilizes an inactive GDP-bound form through direct interactions with switch I and impairs the linker flexibility. Our studies provide a novel targeting site for the development of small molecules that selectively inhibit each Gα subunit and an insight into the molecular mechanism of G protein activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13666-13671
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - Aug 3 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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