Developmental expression of heterotrimeric G proteins in the nervous system of Manduca sexta

P. F. Copenhaver, Angela Horgan, D. C. Nichols, M. A. Rasmussen

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10 Scopus citations


The heterotrimeric G proteins are a conserved family of guanyl nucleotide‐binding proteins that appear in all eukaryotic cells but whose developmental functions are largely unknown. We have examined the developmental expression of representative G proteins in the developing nervous system of the moth Manduca sexta. Using affinity‐purified antisera against different Gα subunits, we found that each of the G proteins exhibited distinctive patterns of expression within the developing central nervous system (CNS), and that these patterns underwent progressive phases of spatial and temporal regulation that corresponded to specific aspects of neuronal differentiation. Several of the G proteins examined (including Gsα and Goα) were expressed in an apparently ubiquitous manner in all neurons, but other proteins (including Giα) were ultimately confined to a more restricted subset of cells in the mature CNS. Although most of the G proteins examined could be detected within the central ganglia, only Goα‐related proteins were seen in the developing peripheral nerves; manipulations of G protein activity in cultured embryos suggested that this class of G protein may contribute to the regulation of neuronal motility during axonal outgrowth. Goα‐related protein were also localized to the developing axons and terminals of the developing adult limb during metamorphosis. These intracellular signaling molecules may, therefore, play similar developmental roles in both the embryonic and postembryonic nervous system. © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-484
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995


  • G protein
  • Manduca sexta
  • axon outgrowth
  • embryo
  • neurogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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