Spatial and temporal regulation of RACK1 function and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor activity through WD40 motif-mediated dimerization

Claire Thornton, Ka Choi Tang, Khanhky Phamluong, Ken Luong, Alicia Vagts, Donna Nikanjam, Rami Yaka, Dorit Ron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Efficient signaling requires accurate spatial and temporal compartmentalization of proteins. RACK1 is a scaffolding protein that fulfils this role through interaction of binding partners with one of its seven WD40 domains. We recently identified the kinase Fyn and the NR2B subunit of the N-methyl-D-Aspartate receptor (NMDAR) as binding partners of RACK1. Scaffolding of Fyn near its substrate NR2B by RACK1 inhibits Fyn phosphorylation of NR2B and thereby negatively regulates channel function. We found that Fyn and NR2B share the same binding site on RACK1; however, their binding to RACK1 is not mutual]y exclusive (Yaka, R., Thornton, C., Vagts, A. J., Phamluong, K., Bonci, A., and Ron, D. (2002) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 99, 5710-5715). We therefore tested the hypothesis that RACK1 forms a homodimer that allows the simultaneous binding of Fyn and NR2B. We found that RACK1 binds to itself both in vitro and in the brain. Deletion analyses identified a RACK1-RACK1 dimer-binding site within the 4th WD40 repeat, and application of the 4th WD40 repeat or a peptide derivative to hippocampal slices inhibited NMDAR activity. We further found that in hippocampal slices, both RACK1 and NR2B associated with another WD40 protein, the β-subunit of G protein (Gβ), previously shown to heterodimerize with RACK1 in vitro (Dell, E. J., Connor, J., Chen, S., Stebbins, E. G., Skiba, N. P., Mochly-Rosen, D., and Hamm, H. E. (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277, 49888-49895). However, activation of the pituitary adenylate cyclase polypeptide (1-38) G protein-coupled receptor, previously found to induce the dissociation of RACK1 from the NMDAR complex (Yaka, R., He, D. Y., Phamluong, K., and Ron, D. (2003) J. Biol. Chem. 278, 9630-9638), attenuated the association of Gβ with RACK1 and NR2B. Based on these results, we propose that WD40-mediated homo- and heterodimerization of RACK1 mediate the formation of a transient signaling complex that includes the NMDAR, a G protein and Fyn.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)31357-31364
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number30
StatePublished - 23 Jul 2004


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