Structure and regulation of G-substrate in neurodegenerative disease
Vigbedor, Maa Ohui Shormeh
G-substrate is a 23 kDa protein named as a specific substrate of cGMP-dependent protein kinase and found predominantly in cerebellar Purkinje cells. As a component of the NO/cGMP/PKG pathway, G-substrate is potentially involved in several important cellular processes and has so far been associated with a number of disease conditions: a single point mutation in G-substrate has been linked to hypercholesterolaemia, while the potent inhibition of PP2A by phosphorylated Gsubstrate possibly influences Tau protein hyperphosphorylation and contributes to Alzheimer's disease pathology. Conversely, overexpression of G-substrate protein in dopaminergic neurons has been found to protect neurons from Parkinson's disease toxins, making G-substrate a possible target of interventions for mitigating the debilitating effects of Parkinson's disease on patients. A shorter splice variant, which only retains one of the phosphorylatable threonine motifs, has recently been described for G-substrate and given the importance of phosphorylation to its action as a phosphatase inhibitor, this study focuses on determining whether both variants of the protein exhibit similar levels of phosphatase inhibition and interact with the same/similar proteins in vivo. We were also interested in determining whether the 51 amino acid section absent from short G-substrate resulted in any significant differences in protein structure, which potentially has implications on functions in vivo. My results indicate the association of G-substrate with a wide range of proteins involved in processes including cell cycle regulation, endocytosis and signalling and the two variants do not always interact with the same proteins. Among these interactors is the PARK 7/ DJ-1 protease, which like G-substrate has been shown to be neuroprotective. I have found that G-substrate is proteolysed by DJ-1 in its active form and interactions between these two proteins is affected by the anti-vertigo drug Tanganil. Phosphatase inhibition studies suggest that the G-substrate variants affect phosphatase activity to different extents under similar conditions, while NMR and circular dichroism structural studies suggest that in solution, the full length Gsubstrate variant is slightly more compactly folded. Understanding the details of G-substrate action in the cell will lead to a better understanding of its roles including the protection of dopaminergic neurons from Parkinson's disease toxins and shed more light on the intricacies of the NO/cGMP/PKG signalling pathway as a whole, thus providing important information that might help improve strategies for dealing with conditions involving this pathway and help develop interventions for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.