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Functional coupling of rat myometrial alpha 1-adrenergic receptors to Gh alpha/tissue transglutaminase 2 during pregnancy.

Dupuis M., Levy A., Mhaouty-Kodja S.

Gh alpha protein, which exhibits both transglutaminase and GTPase activities, represents a new class of GTP-binding proteins. In the present study, we characterized Gh alpha in rat uterine smooth muscle (myometrium) and followed its expression during pregnancy by reverse transcription-PCR and Western blot. We also measured transglutaminase and GTP binding functions and used a smooth muscle cell line to evaluate the role of Gh alpha in cell proliferation. The results show that pregnancy is associated with an up-regulation of Gh alpha expression at both the mRNA and protein level. Gh alpha induced during pregnancy is preferentially localized to the plasma membrane. This was found associated with an increased ability of plasma membrane preparations to catalyze Ca(2+)-dependent incorporation of [(3)H]putrescine into casein in vitro. In the cytosol, significant changes in the level of immunodetected Gh alpha and transglutaminase activity were seen only at term. Activation of alpha1-adrenergic receptors (alpha1-AR) enhanced photoaffinity labeling of plasma membrane Gh alpha. Moreover, the level of alpha1-AR-coupled Gh alpha increased progressively with pregnancy, which parallels the active period of myometrial cell proliferation. Overexpression of wild type Gh alpha in smooth muscle cell line DDT1-MF2 increased alpha1-AR-induced [(3)H]thymidine incorporation. A similar response was obtained in cells expressing the transglutaminase inactive mutant (C277S) of Gh alpha. Together, these findings underscore the role of Gh alpha as signal transducer of alpha1-AR-induced smooth muscle cell proliferation. In this context, pregnant rat myometrium provides an interesting physiological model to study the mechanisms underlying the regulation of the GTPase function of Gh alpha

J. Biol. Chem. 279:19257-19263(2004) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]