Homers are scaffolding proteins that bind G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate (IP3) receptors (IP3Rs), ryanodine receptors, and TRP channels. However, their role in Ca2+ signaling in vivo is not known. Characterization of Ca2+ signaling in pancreatic acinar cells from Homer2-/- and Homer3-/- mice showed that Homer 3 has no discernible role in Ca2+ signaling in these cells. In contrast, we found that Homer 2 tunes intensity of Ca2+ signaling by GPCRs to regulate the frequency of [Ca2+]i oscillations. Thus, deletion of Homer 2 increased stimulus intensity by increasing the potency for agonists acting on various GPCRs to activate PLCbeta and evoke Ca2+ release and oscillations. This was not due to aberrant localization of IP3Rs in cellular microdomains or IP3R channel activity. Rather, deletion of Homer 2 reduced the effectiveness of exogenous regulators of G proteins signaling proteins (RGS) to inhibit Ca2+ signaling in vivo. Moreover, Homer 2 preferentially bound to PLCbeta in pancreatic acini and brain extracts and stimulated GAP activity of RGS4 and of PLCbeta in an in vitro reconstitution system, with minimal effect on PLCbeta-mediated PIP2 hydrolysis. These findings describe a novel, unexpected function of Homer proteins, demonstrate that RGS proteins and PLCbeta GAP activities are regulated functions, and provide a molecular mechanism for tuning signal intensity generated by GPCRs and, thus, the characteristics of [Ca2+]i oscillations.
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