Regulation of light-dependent Gqα translocation and morphological changes in fly photoreceptors

Mickey Kosloff, Natalie Elia, Tamar Joel-Almagor, Rina Timberg, Troy D. Zars, David R. Hyde, Baruch Minke, Zvi Selinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Heterotrimeric G-proteins relay signals between membrane-bound receptors and downstream effectors. Little is known, however, about the regulation of Gα subunit localization within the natural endogenous environment of a specialized signaling cell. Here we show, using live Drosophila flies, that light causes massive and reversible translocation of the visual Gqα to the cytosol, associated with marked architectural changes in the signaling compartment. Molecular genetic dissection together with detailed kinetic analysis enabled us to characterize the translocation cycle and to unravel how signaling molecules that interact with Gqα affect these processes. Epistatic analysis showed that Gqα is necessary but not sufficient to bring about the morphological changes in the signaling organelle. Furthermore, mutant analysis indicated that Gqβ is essential for targeting of Gqα to the membrane and suggested that Gqβ is also needed for efficient activation of Gqα by rhodopsin. Our results support the 'two-signal model' hypothesis for membrane targeting in a living organism and characterize the regulation of both the activity-dependent Gq localization and the cellular architectural changes in Drosophila photoreceptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-468
Number of pages10
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • G-protein
  • Localization
  • Membrane attachment
  • Rhabdomere
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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