The mechanism of transmembrane signaling by the receptor-activated adenylyl cyclase was an enigma. It was suggested that hydrolysis of GTP is a turn-off mechanism that resets the active adenylyl cyclase to the inactive state. To test this hypothesis, we developed a specific GTPase assay and found that the catecholamine adrenergic agonists stimulated the hydrolysis of GTP. To resolve the question of how the hormone concurrently stimulates GTP hydrolysis and activates the adenylyl cyclase, we suggested the regulatory GTPase cycle. Thus, because the hormone facilitates the binding of GTP, which is subsequently hydrolyzed, the regulatory cycle results in a hormone-stimulated GTPase activity. This model also predicts that two mechanisms could account for stimulation of adenylyl cyclase activity—either by the familiar hormone stimulation of the activation reaction or by an inhibition of the turn-off reaction. Indeed, we showed that cholera toxin enhances adenylyl cyclase activity by inhibition of GTP hydrolysis. Finally, we also showed that the hormone-activated receptor stimulates adenylyl cyclase activity by facilitating the exchange of bound GDP for free GTP. Thus, we presented, for the first time, an explicit mechanism for receptor action.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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