The kelch repeat-containing proteins Krh1p and Krh2p are negative regulators of the Gpa2p signaling pathway that directly interact with the G protein alpha-subunit Gpa2p in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A screen was carried out to identify Gpa2p variants that are defective in their ability to bind Krh1p but retain the ability to bind another Gpa2p-interacting protein, Ime2p. This screen identified amino acids Gln-419 and Asn-425 as being important for the interaction between Gpa2p and Krh1p. Gpa2p variants with changes at these positions are defective for Krh1p binding in vivo. Cells containing these forms of Gpa2p display decreased heat shock resistance and increased expression of a gene required for pseudohyphal growth. These findings indicate that the substitutions at positions 419 and 425 confer a degree of constitutive activity to the Gpa2p alpha-subunit. Residues Gln-419 and Asn-425 are located in the beta6-alpha5 loop and alpha5 helix of Gpa2p, which is the region that couples receptor binding to guanine nucleotide exchange. The results suggest that binding of Gpa2p to Krh1p does not resemble the binding of Galpha subunits to either Gbeta subunits or effectors, but it instead represents a novel type of functional interaction.
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