In order for G protein signaling to occur, the G protein heterotrimer must be assembled from its nascent polypeptides. The most difficult step in this process is the formation of the Gβγ dimer from the free subunits since both are unstable in the absence of the other. Recent studies have shown that phosducin-like protein (PhLP1) works as a co-chaperone with the cytosolic chaperonin complex (CCT) to fold Gβ and mediate its interaction with Gγ. However, these studies did not address questions concerning the scope of PhLP1 and CCT-mediated Gβγ assembly, which are important questions given that there are four Gβs that form various dimers with 12 Gγs and a 5th Gβ that dimerizes with the four regulator of G protein signaling (RGS) proteins of the R7 family. The data presented in Chapter 2 shows that PhLP1 plays a vital role in the assembly of Gγ2 with all four Gβ1-4 subunits and in the assembly of Gβ2 with all twelve Gγ subunits, without affecting the specificity of the Gβγ interactions. The results of Chapter 3 show that Gβ5-RGS7 assembly is dependent on CCT and PhLP1, but the apparent mechanism is different from that of Gβγ. PhLP1 seems to stabilize the interaction of Gβ5 with CCT until Gβ5 is folded, after which it is released to allow Gβ5 to interact with RGS7. These findings point to a general role for PhLP1 in the assembly of all Gβγ combinations, and suggest a CCT-dependent mechanism for Gβ5-RGS7 assembly that utilizes the co-chaperone activity of PhLP1 in a unique way. Chapter 4 discusses PhLP2, a recently discovered essential protein, and member of the Pdc family that does not play a role in G protein signaling. Several studies have indicated that PhLP2 acts as a co-chaperone with CCT in the folding of actin, tubulin, and several cell cycle and pro-apoptotic proteins. In a proteomics screen for PhLP2A interacting partners, α-tubulin, 14-3-3, elongation factor 1α, and ribosomal protein L3 were found. Further proteomics studies indicated that PhLP2A is a phosphoprotein that is phosphorylated by CK2 at threonines 47 and 52.



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Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



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Phosducin-like protein 1, PhLP1, chaperone, chaperonin, CCT, Gβ, 5, Gβ, γ, RGS, Regulator of G protein signaling, G protein assembly, Phosducin-like protein 2, PhLP2