Ancient origins of RGK protein function: Modulation of voltage-gated calcium channels preceded the protostome and deuterostome split

Henry L. Puhl, Van B. Lu, Yu Jin Won, Yehezkel Sasson, Joel A. Hirsch, Fumihito Ono, Stephen R. Ikeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

RGK proteins, Gem, Rad, Rem1, and Rem2, are members of the Ras superfamily of small GTP-binding proteins that interact with Ca2+ channel β subunits to modify voltage-gated Ca2+ channel function. In addition, RGK proteins affect several cellular processes such as cytoskeletal rearrangement, neuronal dendritic complexity, and synapse formation. To probe the phylogenetic origins of RGK protein-Ca2+ channel interactions, we identified potential RGK-like protein homologs in genomes for genetically diverse organisms from both the deuterostome and protostome animal superphyla. RGK-like protein homologs cloned from Danio rerio (zebrafish) and Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) expressed in mammalian sympathetic neurons decreased Ca2+ current density as reported for expression of mammalian RGK proteins. Sequence alignments from evolutionarily diverse organisms spanning the protostome/deuterostome divide revealed conservation of residues within the RGK G-domain involved in RGK protein - Cavβ subunit interaction. In addition, the C-terminal eleven residues were highly conserved and constituted a signature sequence unique to RGK proteins but of unknown function. Taken together, these data suggest that RGK proteins, and the ability to modify Ca2+ channel function, arose from an ancestor predating the protostomes split from deuterostomes approximately 550 million years ago.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere100694
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2014

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