G proteins, chemosensory perception, and the C. elegans genome project: An attractive story

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Heterotrimeric G proteins, consisting of α, β, and γ subunits, couple ligand-bound seven transmembrane domain receptors to the regulation of effector proteins and production of intracellular second messengers. G protein signaling mediates the perception of environmental cues in all higher eukaryotic organisms, including yeast, Dictyostelium, plants, and animals. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is the first animal to have complete descriptions of its cellular anatomy, cell lineage, neuronal wiring diagram, and genomic sequence. In a recent paper, Jansen et al. used sequence searches of the C. elegans genome database to identify all heterotrimeric G protein genes (20 Gα, 2 Gβ, 2 Gγ). C. elegans encodes one ortholog of each of the four Gα classes found in metazoans and 16 new Gα genes. The orthologous genes are widely expressed, whereas 14 of the divergent Gα genes are almost exclusively expressed in sensory neurons where they may regulate perception and chemotaxis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-717
Number of pages5
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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