An Interhelical Salt Bridge Controls Flexibility and Inhibitor Potency for Regulators of G-protein Signaling Proteins 4, 8, and 19.

Academic Article


  • Regulators of G-protein signaling (RGS) proteins modulate receptor signaling by binding to activated G-protein α-subunits, accelerating GTP hydrolysis. Selective inhibition of RGS proteins increases G-protein activity and may provide unique tissue specificity. Thiadiazolidinones (TDZDs) are covalent inhibitors that act on cysteine residues to inhibit RGS4, RGS8, and RGS19. There is a correlation between protein flexibility and potency of inhibition by the TDZD 4-[(4- fluorophenyl)methyl]-2-(4-methylphenyl)-1,2,4-thiadiazolidine-3,5-dione (CCG-50014). In the context of a single conserved cysteine residue on the α 4 helix, RGS19 is the most flexible and most potently inhibited by CCG-50014, followed by RGS4 and RGS8. In this work, we identify residues responsible for differences in both flexibility and potency of inhibition among RGS isoforms. RGS19 lacks a charged residue on the α 4 helix that is present in RGS4 and RGS8. Introducing a negative charge at this position (L118D) increased the thermal stability of RGS19 and decreased the potency of inhibition of CCG-50014 by 8-fold. Mutations eliminating salt bridge formation in RGS8 and RGS4 decreased thermal stability in RGS8 and increased potency of inhibition of both RGS4 and RGS8 by 4- and 2-fold, respectively. Molecular dynamics simulations with an added salt bridge in RGS19 (L118D) showed reduced RGS19 flexibility. Hydrogen-deuterium exchange studies showed striking differences in flexibility in the α 4 helix of RGS4, 8, and 19 with salt bridge-modifying mutations. These results show that the α 4 salt bridge-forming residue controls flexibility in several RGS isoforms and supports a causal relationship between RGS flexibility and the potency of TDZD inhibitors. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Inhibitor potency is often viewed in relation to the static structure of a target protein binding pocket. Using both experimental and computation studies we assess determinants of dynamics and inhibitor potency for three different RGS proteins. A single salt bridge-forming residue determines differences in flexibility between RGS isoforms; mutations either increase or decrease protein motion with correlated alterations in inhibitor potency. This strongly suggests a causal relationship between RGS protein flexibility and covalent inhibitor potency.
  • Authors

  • Shaw, Vincent S
  • Mohammadi, Mohammadjavad
  • Quinn, Josiah A
  • Vashisth, Harish
  • Neubig, Richard R
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • December 2019
  • Published In


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • RGS Proteins
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 683
  • End Page

  • 691
  • Volume

  • 96
  • Issue

  • 6