RGS Proteins: G Protein-Coupled Receptors Meet Their Match
Many drugs act on receptors coupled to heterotrimeric G proteins. Historically, drug discovery has focused on agents that bind to the receptors and either stimulate or inhibit the receptor-initiated signal. This is an approach that is both direct and logical, and has proven extremely fruitful in the past. However, as our understanding of G-protein signaling has increased, novel opportunities for drug development have emerged. RGS proteins are multifunctional GTPase-accelerating proteins that inactivate G-protein signaling pathways. GTPase-accelerating protein activity is a general feature of RGS proteins, and serves to facilitate the inactivation of the G protein rather than the receptor. Thus, agents that bind and inhibit RGS proteins could modulate endogenous neurotransmitter and hormone signaling, in a manner analogous to neurotransmitter uptake inhibitors. Here we discuss the potential of RGS proteins as drug targets.